Observations of the Astral World
c. 1994 - acrylic on canvas - 236 x 514 x 4 cm
Healing through Colour - Shaman Artist - Norval Morrisseau
I had the opportunity to visit the Norval Morrisseau art exhibit last week in Ottawa at the National Gallery of Canada. I was intrigued and inspired as I learned Norval’s story through his art. Last year I was introduced to Norval’s art while visiting a friend. The rich brilliant colours of his art captivated me. He paints with deep contrasting colours and thick lines, with each stroke telling a story about his Ojibway culture and his struggle to embrace his path.
Norval is a storyteller and Shaman. In his book "Return to the House of Invention" the artist talks about his intention of awakening people’s psychic ability through his painting. On his many shamanic journeys to the "House of Invention", he learned about the use of colour as a means of healing. Norval’s perception is that the world is a dark place and his art is an attempt to brighten up the world by expressing colour.
Recently while traveling I noticed in the airport that almost everyone in the section I was sitting in had on black. I was returning from a tropical place to mid-winter in Canada, however it felt like a rude awakening to the reality we live in. As I walked through the exhibit I noticed Norval’s paintings getting brighter and brighter, with more and more colour being expressed.
I was profoundly affected by Norval's story and his art. It captured my imagination, and I felt my soul touched by the rich contrasting colours that he uses. Norval is Canada's first native artist to share the beliefs, customs and rituals of his people (Ojibway). He was criticised by his own people for revealing this sacred information, however followed the guidance of his helping Spirits. His story is an example of the struggle of walking the 'razor's edge' that those walking a Shamanic path often encounter.Martha