Friday, December 27, 2013

The exhibition that ended institutionalized discrimination against First Nations art at the National Gallery of Canada

* Below presented text was originally published on December 18th, 2009 (click HERE)


"Androgyny" (left) & "Man Changing into Thunderbird" (right),
© Photography by Stephen Goetz /Click on image to Enlarge/


~ the first solo exhibition featuring a First Nations artist in 126-year history of the National Gallery of Canada. Exhibition held in Ottawa, Ontario from February 3rd to April 30th, 2006.

Despite being widely recognized as the father of contemporary aboriginal art and despite the pleas of some influential people, Norval Morrisseau did not become part of the National Gallery of Canada's collection until 2000 (click HERE & HERE to view the first two Norval Morrisseau acquisition by the National Gallery of Canada).

As early as 1972, Selwyn Dewdney, an influential anthropologist and art enthusiast who befriended Morrisseau in northern Ontario early in his career, pressed the National Gallery of Canada to buy some of the artist's work. The gallery refused. "I made a pitch at the National Gallery for inclusion of your work in the permanent collection but encountered deaf ears, Dewdney wrote Morrisseau. "It appears that if you're of Amerindian origin the proper place for your art is a museum!"

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>>> Reference post:
- Recommended readings (Part V)

* The paintings in this post: "Androgyny", 12'x20', © 1983 Norval Morrisseau (left) & "Man Changing into Thunderbird" (6 panels), 60"x50" ea., © 1977 Norval Morrisseau (right)

1 comment:

Morrisseau Sculptor, Murar said...

I have suggested more than once, to the National Gallery of Canada that they replace the 3.2 million dollar French-American Louise Bourgeois spider sculpture called "Maman" at the front of their building, with the 1st 3D and monumental portrait of Norval Morrisseau, world renown Canadian Ojibwa artist. I have only received an "unofficial" reply to my request and that was, "It's not going to happen."