I was saddened to learn of the death on December 4th of First Nations artist, shaman, and storyteller, Norval Morrisseau.
His paintings exploded onto the Canadian art scene in the early 1960s, blazing a trail for other indigenous artists and sculptors. Although he was self-taught, his blending of Ojibwa and European influences that became known as the Woodland School of native art, placed him among the first rank of artists. He later repudiated Woodland as a media construct, and formed his own Thunderbird School of Shamanistic Arts, developing the exuberant, neon-like brilliance of colour that was to become his hallmark.
Throughout his life, Mr. Morrisseau fought and conquered many demons, and became a role model for young aboriginal people. His courageous struggle against Parkinson’s Disease in latter years was an inspiring testimony to the ability of the human spirit.
I join all Ontarians in mourning the passing of a Canadian icon.The Honourable Davd C. Onley2007
Norval Morrisseau and Ritchie Sinclair
1979, 36" x 48", acrylic on canvass
This painting was created by Norval Morrisseau and myself in 1979 and signed by both of us before it was given away as a gift. It is an example of the exploratory nature of "Thunderbird School Art". Members of Toronto's Eckankar community utilized this painting as a vehicle to focus their sounding of the Hu at meditation gatherings held in Vandorf, Ontario