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Two of the artworks currently on display in our hallway exhibit, Ojibwa Head Dress by Norval Morriseau (pictured left) and Hoop Dancer by Daphne Odjig (right), are silkscreen prints and beautiful examples of what was to become a style known as the Woodland School of Art.

Ojibwa Head Dress by Norval Morriseau and Hoop Dancer by Daphne Odjig

Raised by his Ojibwe grandparents, Morriseau was taught many of his Anishinaabe traditional customs and beliefs. Later he would combine traditional legends and teachings with artmaking techniques from the ‘outside’ world in new and bold ways.

Daphne Odjig was from the Ontario Odawa-Potawatomi Nation. She also showed an interest in art from an early age. She moved to Toronto as a young woman to work in factories during World War II and in her spare time, she would visit and study art at the Royal Ontario Museum. Later, after moving to Winnipeg she opened her own gallery and began her own painting in fellowship with many Cree artists living there. This group, meeting regularly in her living room, formed the Professional Native Indian Arts Association, a collective of seven indigenous artists that sought to bring the same legitimacy to indigenous art that was afforded to other Canadian artists.

Morriseau soon became a member. He had become a Christian and his work, while still acknowledging his roots, had begun to reflect this new influence in his life. The large flat planes of colour bordered by heavy strong black lines show his love for the stained glass windows of the churches he attended. His unique style soon influenced others in the Association, Odjig in particular. Her graceful, minimalist lines and colour use became her own trademark style. The group’s distinctive style and bold adaptation of modern art techniques became known as the Woodland School of Art and influenced generations of indigenous artists.

Have a peek at the hallway exhibit:

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