Monday, July 19, 2010

Norval Morrisseau Conspiracy Unveiled (Part IV)

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Exhibit No. 3
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This exhibit involves visit by Norval Morrisseau who together with Gabor (Gabe) Vadas attended the Sacred Ceremony on Manitoulin Island in September 1999. They spent on the island couple of weeks and Norval Morrisseau painted several paintings at Nimkee Art Gallery.
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Blair Debassige (right) presented renowned artist Norval Morrisseau (centre) with an eagle feather at a ceremony held on September 24, 1999 at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF). Helping out with the ceremony was Morrisseau's adopted son Weekan (Gabor Vadas).
~ Note a genuine Norval Morrisseaus painting on the wall!?
/Click on image to Enlarge/


Debassige presents an eagle feather to idol: internationally acclaimed artist Morrisseau

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Jennifer McCauley,
The Manitoulin Expositor, published September 29, 1999
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M'CHIGEENG - It was a poignant moment for M'Chigeeng artist Blair Debassige as he presented his idol, interna­tionally acclaimed artist Norval Morrisseau, with an eagle feather, the highest honour an aboriginal person can receive.
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The sacred ceremony was held last Friday at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF) in M'Chigeeng. When one receives an eagle feather, that person is being acknowledged with gratitude, love and ultimate respect, says Mr. Debassige, who owns Nimkee art gallery in M'Chigeeng.
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"I hold a lot of respect for Norval as an artist, but also as a friend," be says. "This is my way of honouring him." Mr. Morrisseau could not describe the depth of feeling receiving a sacred Ragle feather invokes. "It is like receiving a star on Hollywood, but better," he says.
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The intensity of emotion cannot be described by English words, says Weekan, Mr. Morrisseau's adopted son. "There is no way to trans­late those feel­ings from Ojibwe into English," he adds. "The only compari­son I can make is the intense feelings you fall in love with someone and every­thing is per­fect."
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The ceremo­ny began with Paul Nadjiwan, executive director of the OCF, leading the M'Swanoodin singers in an opening song as they rhythmatically beat the ceremonial drum. The feather was then prepared with sacred tobacco. In this way, the eagle and the Creator are notified of the name of the new eagle feather holder. After the feather was pre­pared, Weekan, accompanied by Mr. Debassige, pushed Mr. Morrisseau's wheelchair around the circle in time to the drum's beat.

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All those who came to witness the cere­mony were encouraged to dance behind Mr. Morrisseau to demonstrate their support. At the song's conclusion, Mr. Debassige presented the feather to his "role model."
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Anyone who receives an eagle feather must make a home where the feather will be kept. The feather also must be fed by holding or wearing it at sacred ceremonies. By doing this, the feather becomes recharged with sacred energy.
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Mr. Debassige's dream was finally realized with Mr. Morrisseau's visit to Manitoulin. Since the age of 13, Mr. Debassige has dreamed of painting in his studio with the man who has become known as the father of Woodland Indian art.
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Mr. Morrisseau plans to use his time on the Island to paint and prepare for the Kinsman Robinson Gallery Show in Toronto next month. The show, which will com­bine old and new paintings, will be the largest exhibition of his work to date. Painting aside, Mr. Morrisseau, who suffers from Parkinsons disease, came to the Island to partake of tra­ditional Anishinabae healing.
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"I consider Manitoulin Island to be the most sacred place in Canada." he says. "Cleaning the toxins from my body is the only way I'm going to get better." The Island air helps to clear his mind and the beauty please his artistic eye, Weekan says.

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"Norval has told me a lot about Manitoulin Island," he adds. "He has helped me to understand the spiritual force that exists in this place. There is so much energy here."
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Since his arrival on the Island last Wednesday, Mr. Morrisseau has begun six new paintings in traditional Woodland style. This type of painting has been termed x-ray vision in the past because the artist depicts the inner work­ings or feelings of the subject.
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The dozen of Mr. Morrisseau's paintings dis­played at Nimkee gallery are explo­sions of vibrant color depicting aboriginal imagery. Bright melon, canary yellow, fuchsia, vermilion, aqua­marine, violet and royal blue bring the pictures to life, emphasizing, the black outlines of the subjects. Occa­sional touches of softer pastels or earthy brown tones soothe the eye.

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"I paint with these colors to heal," he says. "My paint­ings honor the "Ahneesheenahpay" ancestors who have roamed the Great Lakes for centuries upon centuries. My art records and preserves the legends, art, songs and beliefs of the "Ahneesheenahpay," not only for this generation, but for all future "Ahneesheenahpay."

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The compositions, which range in price from $3,200 to $15,000, are painted on canvas or Arches paper. Unlike most artists, Mr. Morrisseau draws his inspira­tion from his "inward reserves" rather than looking to his surroundings or environment for ideas.

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"My heart and soul is reflected into my mind and my mind is reflected into my hands."
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His inspiration originates from the stories and legends he heard as a boy. Born in 1932, on the Sand Point Lake Reserve north of Thunder Bay, he learned traditional Ojibwe customs, values and beliefs from his grandparents.

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During his youth, Mr. Morrisseau received his "mis­sion" from his grandfather to share through art all of the values he was taught to respect about the Ojibwe culture.

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It was in the 1950s, while hospitalized with tuberculosis that he began painting and drawing his visions on birch bark and brown paper bags. Although his beginnings were humble, he now has more than 40 one-man shows under his belt.

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Mr. Morrisseau wears many hats. Aside from being a renowned artist, he is also a Shaman (or medicine man) and a published author. In Travel to the House of Inven­tion, he pens a powerful account of his life and art career.

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From the first time he picked up a brush, painting became his passion, he says. Over the years that passion has grown and strengthened.

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"There is no other way to describe it," he says. "To paint is to live."

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* Weekan - Gabor (Gabe) Vadas
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Source:
- "Debassige presents an eagle feather to idol: internationally acclaimed artist Morrisseau"
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To view an original The Manitoulin Expositor's article click on the above link and/or click HERE to view the source of the image presented above
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>>> The following photographs were supplied to Blog Master by Kathleen Debassige, former co-owner of Nimkee Art Gallery and were taken in M'Chigeeng while Norval Morrisseau who together with Gabor (Gabe) Vadas attended the Sacred Ceremony on Manitoulin Island in September 1999:
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1. Norval Morrisseau in a truck in front of the OFC
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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2. Norval Morrisseau and Gabe Vadas during the ceremony at OFC
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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3. Norval Morrisseau with OCF executive director Paul Nadjiwan
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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4. Norval Morrisseau with artist David Migwans at OCF
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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5. Norval Morrisseau with Kathleen Debassige's daughter Sabrina
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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6. Nimkee Art Gallery, M'Chigeeng, Ontario
Lower level - Art Gallery
Upper level - Studio; w
here Norval Morrisseau stayed during his visit
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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7. Norval Morrisseau at Nimkee Art Gallery Studio
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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8. Norval Morrisseau and Gabe Vadas at Nimkee Art Gallery Studio
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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9. Norval Morrisseau and a tourist at Nimkee Art Gallery Studio
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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10. Norval Morrisseau painting at Nimkee Art Gallery Studio
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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11. Norval Morrisseau wearing hat Kathleen Debassige made from his bear fur robe at Nimkee Art Gallery /Click on image to Enlarge/
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12. Norval Morrisseau with Kathleen Debassige and her children Sabrina, Dakota and Raven at Nimkee Art Gallery
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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13. Norval Morrisseau talking with Kathleen Debassige while her children Dakota and Raven running in a background at Nimkee Art Gallery /Click on image to Enlarge/
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14. Kathleen Debassige's daughter Sabrina and a friend with Norval Morrisseau at Nimkee Art Gallery /Click on image to Enlarge/
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15. Norval Morrisseau with William McMullan and a friend at Nimkee Art Gallery /Click on image to Enlarge/
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16. Norval Morrisseau with Gloria McMullan at Nimkee Art Gallery
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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17. "Untitled", 58"x138", © 1979 Norval Morrisseau, painting on canvas exhibited at Nimkee Art Gallery
(Collection of Kathleen Debassige) /Click on image to Enlarge/
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18. Norval Morrisseau smiling in front of the painting "Untitled", 58"x138", © 1979 Norval Morrisseau, painting on canvas exhibited at Nimkee Art Gallery
(Collection of Kathleen Debassige) /Click on image to Enlarge/
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19. "Untitled", 58"x138", © 1979 Norval Morrisseau, painting on canvas exhibited at Nimkee Art Gallery
(Collection of Kathleen Debassige) /Click on image to Enlarge/
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20. Norval Morrisseau signing Nimkee Art Gallery guestbook
/Click on image to Enlarge/
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21. Interior of Nimkee Art Gallery Studio showing Norval Morrisseau paintings ranging from 1970's to 1990's /Click on image to Enlarge/
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Here are 21 photographs of Norval Morrisseau including the Manitoulin island 'Eagle Feather Ceremony' at the Ojibwe Cultural Foundation (OCF). These photographs clearly show Norval Morrisseau's contentment and credibility concerning the paintings that these few individuals have publicly slandered as 'questionable', 'fakes', 'forgeries', 'abominations' and other defamatory attributes and they have now been exposed for the 'conspiracy' surrounding this whole issue. The paintings in the backgrounds are authentic Norval Morrisseau paintings predominantly from the 1970's period. The Eagle Feather Ceremony is a sacred ceremony. Norval Morrisseau knew that with his full heart and soul. It has been said by these individuals that Norval Morrisseau did not have record nor paint in this common style. Which is at the heart of this conspiracy to corner the market by these few scrupulous individuals by trashing this great period and body of work by Morrisseau so that they can sell their much 'later period work' which they hold inventory stock in for sale.
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To these people it's all about 'beating out the competion' through slander and disinformation spread by themselves. A spiritual man of Morrisseau's calibre would not 'dare to accept' an eagle feather in such a spiritually charged place as Manitoulin Island under 'false pretense' of his artwork clearly shown displayed on the walls of the gallery where this ceremony had taken place. Mr. Morrisseau would have considered this 'sacreligious' to say the least and would not put his soul and spirit in jeopardy if he didn't feel right about being there and having his own artwork prominently displayed and be awarded an eagle feather.
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ADDENDUM:
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As per conversation with Kathleen Debassige, former co-owner of Nimkee Art Gallery. She told me that Norval Morrisseau had stayed for 10 days in the gallery in September/October of 1999. She also stated that at no time were there any negative or critical comments made by Norval Morrisseau regarding the gallery’s art collection. She said that he stayed initially for one week and then went into Toronto to open an art show at Kinsman Robinson Galleries. After the exhibition he came back to M'Chigeeng and stayed with them at the gallery for another three days before going back home to Nanaimo, British Columbia. She also mentioned that he signed the gallery’s guestbook and he allowed many photos with numerous people and his art to be taken. As a closing statement she mentioned that he painted many new artworks in the gallery’s studio and that he genuinely enjoyed his visit as much as they enjoyed having him.
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Bellow presented is her signed affidavit attesting to the veracity of out conversation:
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~ Dated January 30th, 2009
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NOTE: Her handwritten comment, directed to me personally, states the following:
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"I do believe that pictures speak louder than words sometimes. Norval signing book (click HERE) and smiling in front of his art (click HERE); Gabe smiling and wearing hat Norval asked me to make him from his robe (click HERE). Staying in gallery for 10 days, these things are not consistent with the idea that they were upset about fake art."
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