Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"WE ARE ALL ONE IN SPIRIT"... Norval Morrisseau

* This post was originally published on December 22nd, 2007


"We Are All One in Spirit"

"WE ARE ALL ONE IN SPIRIT"... Norval Morrisseau
Text: Mark A. Brennan (December 5th, 2007)

There was some significant sad news today in the Canadian Art world that deserves a mention here. Norval Morrisseau died today aged 75. Morrisseau was significant in so many ways. He was the first Native Canadian artist to make a deep impression on the mainstream art scene in Canada. He basically paved the way for many Native Canadian artists to begin their road to self expression in the Canadian art world. He also defined a new movement in Canadian art that drew together nature and art in a form that had never been seen before. This new movement became known as the ‘Woodland’ school.

There is a wonderful quote from Morrisseau in which he says, “I am merely a channel for the spirit to utilize, and it is needed by a spirit-starved society." How true those words are today. I admire this great artist, his love for his traditional Ojibwa heritage and his stark paintings depicting nature and shaman storytelling have inspired my own work, not so much in style but certainly in motivation. Anyone who paints nature in any form can feel a bond of sorts with all things wild and it was this bond that Morrissea brought out of the Ojibwa nation to release into society by way of his art.

Morrisseau’s work can arguably be defined as the true Canadian art that was born of thousands of years of living close to the land, and in doing so he put down in his paintings the story of his people.

You can read more about Norval Morrissea at

Mark Brennan

* An art poster presented herein was from the Cardigan/Milne Gallery Art Exhibition of Norval Morrisseau works - Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1979

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