Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Norval Morrisseau & Woodland Art Movement

- Anishinaabe/Canadian Painter-

© 2008 by Vanessa Liston

In an address presented in 1980 at the University of Western Ontario, Goyce Kakegamic, a prominent Anishnaabe (Woodland) artist stated:

"The aim...was not merely to establish a realistic record. The artist quickly realized that he could not draw a tree or animal as perfectly as it was made by the Creator so, in good sense, he did not try to do so. Instead, he sought out the spirit, or essence, of the tree, and represented this in his painting. This is the semi-magical characteristic so common to Native Art. The painting depicts the soul of the object. The art of representing visions or mental impressions is not new.

Today, the artist must turn to the elders of the community for age-old stories and legends, and infuse them with artistic meaning. Only those who have shared in native life gain the insights necessary to recreate that life in an art form. The basic rule is to arouse an emotional response in the audience. If the artist does not succeed in this, it may be either his own failure or that of the audience itself.

Woodland Native Art is not a primitive art form. It involves the latest in media and techniques. Its practitioners are not untrained or illiterate. The messages contained in the works are neither crude nor unsophisticated. Woodland Art is not an anachronistic curiosity cherished for its furtive glimpses into a bygone age. It is rather a representation of current philosophy and a culture that is alive and well today.

...Please do not think of us as 'Indian' artists, but rather, as artists who happen to be Indian".

Goyce Kakegamic - one of the founders of the Tripe K Cooperative


Source (Text): "Art in the Woodland Tradition" - Compiled and Edited by William F. Colborne /Used with permission/

Note: Founded by Henry, Joshim and Goyce Kakegamic the Triple K Cooperative was a silkscreening company that reproduced their own work, as well as that of other artists like Paddy Peters, Barry Peters, Saul Williams, and their brother-in-law Norval Morrisseau.
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