Honouring Eddy Cobiness (1933-1996)
/One of his last paintings, done while recovering in Winnipeg, at the Health Science Centre, from a fall in his bathroom in September 1995/
Self-taught painter and graphic designer Eddy Cobiness was known for appending his treaty number '47' to most of his works. He began by illustrating realistic village scenes, then initiated a more abstract phase of work, continuing with depictions of provincial wildlife influenced by celebrated Woodland artist Benjamin Chee Chee. Cobiness worked in oil and acrylic, watercolour, pen and ink, and coloured pencil.
In 1973 seven Canadian native artists gave birth to the Professional National Indian Artists Inc. also known as the Indian Group of Seven. The Group consisted of Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray (murdered in Sioux Lookout in 1978), Jackson Beardy (died of a heart attack in 1984), Norval Morrisseau (died in 2007), Eddy Cobiness, Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez.
That year Jackson Beardy, Alex Janvier, and Daphne Odjig had been involved in an exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171 a reference to the numbers given to their respective bands when treaties had been signed with the Canadian government. The show had been a success and as a follow up, the idea came to formalize a group of native artists that would spread the word about Canadian Woodland (Anishnaabe) Art Movement and to assist younger native artists.
Eddy Cobiness frequently painted stylized images of animals, and was known for being able to capture the essence of various creatures with just a few deft strokes, a style that came to be known as “the flowing art of Eddy Cobiness”.
Source: "Winnipeg Free Press" - an article dated January 3, 1996: "Gentle, flowing lines helped to define Canadian native art" by Tony Davis /Staff Reporter/and other sources.