Saturday, January 31, 2015

Copper Thunderbird: A Symposium on the Art & Life of Norval Morrisseau /February 6th, 2015/


"Thunderbird and Canoe in Flight, Norval on Scooter, 1997" Copyright Estate of Norval Morrisseau

Symposium will focus on Morrisseau's life, artwork and career from the varied perspectives of our panelists who - as collectors, curators, authors, academics, and/or artists - cover a wide spectrum of experience pertaining to Norval Morrisseau's work. Panelists,
Barry Ace, Tom Hill, Dr. Carmen Robertson, Armand Garnet Ruffo and Jessica Wilson, each bring unique insight and perspective to Morrisseau's development and contribution to Canadian Aboriginal art history. In bringing this group of individuals together, the hope is to suggest the need for a holistic vantage point when reviewing Norval Morrisseau's work and legacy in the context of Aboriginal art history

More info:

Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada

Friday, February 6, 2015 - Friday, February 6, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m.

First Nations University of Canada

Copper Thunderbird: The Art & Life of Norval Morrisseau

Symposium Schedule
February 6th 2015
1:00 – 4:15 PM

Student Commons Area FNUniv Regina Campus

Our symposium will focus on Morrisseau’s life, artwork and career from the varied perspectives of our panelists who – as collectors, curators, authors, academics, and/or artists – cover a wide spectrum of experience pertaining to Norval Morrisseau’s work. Our panelists: Barry Ace, Tom Hill, Dr. Carmen Robertson, Armand Ruffo, and Jessica Wilson each bring unique insight and perspective to Morrisseau’s development and contribution to Canadian Aboriginal art history. In bringing this group of individuals together, the hope is to suggest the need for a holistic vantage point when reviewing Norval Morrisseau’s work and legacy in the context of Aboriginal art history.

1:00 – 1:15 PM
“Knowing Norval Morrisseau through Collecting”
Jessica Wilson

Jessica Wilson, Curator at Westerkirk Works of Art will discuss ways that they have approached collecting Norval Morrisseau’s work in order to better understand his artistic practice.

Jessica Wilson is Curator and Collections Manager at Westerkirk Works of Art. She holds a Masters in Archives and Records Management from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and Criticism from the University of Western Ontario. She has experience working in artist run centres, museums and art galleries in both Canada and the UK. She sits on the boards of Scarborough Arts and Kawartha Lakes Culture and Heritage Network.

1:30 – 2:15 PM
“Norval Morrisseau: The Early Years 1958-1970”
Tom Hill

This presentation will explore the early years of Norval Morrisseau, the renowned Ojibwe artist, including what motivated him to create the pictographic style almost exclusively his alone from 1958 to 1965. By the late sixties, he was joined by other artists.

For the first time, Morrisseau portrayed Ojibwe legends in his art. By doing so he created a unique art form of signs and symbols.

Thomas Hill is a Konadaha Seneca from the Six Nations Reserve. In 1967, he received his AOCA from the Ontario College of Art and continued his studies on a scholarship with the National Gallery of Canada and Carleton University. After fifteen years with the federal government, Mr. Hill accepted the position of Museum Director at the Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, where he remained until his retirement in 2004. His work as a curator has done much to raise awareness of the contemporary art practices of First Nations artists, and his publications include the book Creation’s Journey: Native American Identity and Belief, published by the Smithsonian InstitutIon, and the award-winning catalogue It Takes Time, for the Woodland Cultural Centre.

He has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Gallery of Canada, a Member of the National First Nations Advisory Committee to the Canada Council, Board Member to the Ontario Film Development Corporation, Co-chair for the National Task Force on Museums and First Peoples, Board member for the Ontario Museums Association, and on the Ontario Arts Council. He has also served as a Board member for the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, and the Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. He is currently a member of the board of the Canada Council, a member of the Canadian Curatorial Committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and a board member for Chiefswood Museum.

2:15 – 3:00 PM
“Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird”
Armand Ruffo

In his presentation Armand Garnet Ruffo revisits the writing of his creative biography Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird. He considers the challenges of writing about the life and art of Norval Morrisseau, and why he found it necessary to break from the realistic tradition of writing in Canada and draw upon the mythic tradition of Indigenous peoples. Using examples from his text, Ruffo illustrates what he set out to do, and how he went about doing it.

Armand Garnet Ruffo’s work is strongly influenced by his Ojibway heritage. His first poetry collection, Opening in the Sky, was published in 1994 (Theytus Books). His work has also appeared in such anthologies as Looking at the Words of Our People (Theytus Books), Voices of The First Nations (McGraw Hill Ryerson), and Native Literature in Canada (Oxford University Press) as well as numerous literary journals including Dandelion, CVII, and Absinthe.

3:00 – 3:30 PM
“Norval Morrisseau and Androgyny: The Story of a Gift”
Dr. Carmen Robertson

Anishinaabe artist Norval Morrisseau, also known as Copper Thunderbird, created works depicting traditional stories, the cultural and political tensions between Indigenous and European traditions, his existential struggles, and his deep spirituality and mysticism. Robertson places Morrisseau’s 1983 painting Androgyny into context by analyzing the art work, and Morrisseau’s gift-giving gesture. When Canada’s Prime Minister assembled his cabinet ministers for a historic photograph in 2008, the six-meter-long canvas served as the backdrop. Because of its powerful presence and national press coverage, it unwittingly sanctioned the Conservative party’s political platform. The vibrant painting was drawn into a narrative that Morrisseau never imagined when he gave it as a gift to the people of Canada. This presentation analyzes how the meaning of the work has traveled since its production as it traces the many efforts to claim it.

Associate Professor Carmen Robertson teaches contemporary Indigenous art history and cultures of display at University of Regina. Her research focuses on Indigenous arts, colonialism, representation and media framings. Her SSHRC-supported research project into the work and life of Norval Morrisseau has led to a monograph accepted for publication by University of Manitoba Press. The book focuses on Morrisseau’s complicated history with Canada’s media since 1962. She has also published essays related to Morrisseau’s work in the Review of Canadian Art, the Journal of Canadian Art History, edited collections, and in a forthcoming e-book geared to students of art history. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, of Lakota-Scottish-Métis ancestry, Carmen greatest accomplishment is her two beautiful daughters who have now left the nest, much to her dismay.

3:30 – 4:15 PM
“Anishinaabeg Cultural Continuity – Art and Advocacy of Norval Morrisseau.”
Barry Ace

Norval Morrisseau was a strong Anishinaabeg cultural advocate who’s perseverance and tenacity in his quest for traditional knowledge and cultural development opportunities was unwavering. Morrisseau’s passion for knowledge and intellectual debate is clearly evident in his early correspondence that is now housed in major public art and government institutions, publications and personal memory which document his advocacy efforts with museum researcher, author and artist Selwyn Dewdney; senior government official Senator Alistair Grosart, and Toronto art dealer and artist Jack Pollock. This paper will present a précis of Morrisseau’s early requests for research about North American and South American tribes; his contributions to Anishinaabeg cultural revitalization; and community-based economic development opportunities for the cultural arts.

Barry Ace – Anishinaabe (Odawa), is a practicing visual artist and writer currently residing in Ottawa. He is a band member of M’Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada.

His mixed media paintings and assemblage textile works explore various aspects of cultural continuity and the confluence of the historical and contemporary. He is a former Lecturer with the Department of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury and former Chief and Chief Curator of the Aboriginal Arts Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and has written and published extensively on contemporary Aboriginal Art. Most recently he contributed an essay for the Westerkirk Works of Art publication Copper Thunderbird: The Art of Norval Morrisseau entitled Norval Morrisseau: Artist as Shaman, and for the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s 7: Professional Native, Indian Artists Inc. entitled Reactive Intermediates: Aboriginal Art, Politics and Resonance of the 1960s and 1970s.
Schedule at a glance:

1:00 – 1:15 pm
“Knowing Norval Morrisseau through Collecting”
Jessica Wilson

1:30 – 2:15 pm
“Morrisseau: The Early Years 1958 – 1970”
Tom Hill

2:15 – 3:00 pm
“Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird”
Armand Garnet Ruffo

3:00 – 3:30 pm
“Norval Morrisseau and Androgyny: The Story of a Gift”
Dr. Carmen Robertson

3:30 – 4:15 pm
“Anishinaabeg Cultural Continuity – Art and Advocacy of Norval Morrisseau”
Barry Ace

Katherine Boyer

306-790-5950 ext. 3281


Source: University of Regina @

Friday, January 30, 2015

Armand Garnet Ruffo about Norval Morrisseau Conspiracy

~ Norval Morrisseau Biography
- Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre (September 5th, 2014)
- ISBN-10: 1771620463; - ISBN-13: 978-1771620468



"On the other hand, there are those dealers - including Joseph McLeod and collectors like Ugo Matulic and Joseph Otavnik - who believe that the issue of fakes is really a non-issue, a trumped-up conspiracy by Kinsman Robinson and Gabe Vadas to corner the market."

Armand Garnet Ruffo (NORVAL MORRISSEAU 'Man Changing into Thunderbird, 2014; Page 290)



I am very disappointed that Mr. Ruffo did not do a proper research prior to publishing some of the material presented in this book, which is incorrect and misleading information provided to him by media (who are notorious for having failed to do proper research for their own articles) and those whose actions continue to devalue millions of dollars of art assets of countless collectors/admirers of Norval Morrisseau's art.

An extensive review and critique will be provided on these pages soon.

Miigwetch (Thank you)

Ugo Matulic
/Blog Master/

>>> Reference posts:
- An Interview with Armand Garnet Ruffo, author of "Man Changing into Thunderbird", - A Windigo Tale, - Q: What does Grey Owl and Copper Thunderbird have in common?, - THE MORRISSEAU PAPERS, - Red Lake Woodland Arts Festival: A Tribute to Norval Morrisseau and the Woodland Artists in 26 DAYS!, - Writing of Norval Morrisseau's Biography by Armand Garnet Ruffo completed... & - Recommended readings (Part V).

* The painting of this book's cover: "Man Changing into Thunderbird" (2 of 6), 60"x50", © 1977 Norval Morrisseau; originally published on page 140 of THE ART OF NORVAL MORRISSEAU ('Jack Pollock's Book') /Lister Sinclair, Jack Pollock, and Norval Morrisseau /; ISBN: 0-458-93820-3 /Toronto, Ontario: Methuen, 1979./ <Private Collection/

Residential Schools - Honoring Our Parents

~ Reference for Morrisseau's collectors and investigators

By niitsitapi07

Note: Norval Morrisseau himself spent four years in the St. Joseph's Roman Catholic residential boarding school in Forth William (now Thunder Bay, Ontario) from 1938 to 1941.-


>>> Reference post:
- Canadian History Through the Art of Norval Morrisseau (Part I)
-/Canadian Residential School System/

Norval Morrisseau Blog Celebrates First Nations University of Canada


The mission of the First Nations University of Canada is to enhance the quality of life, and to preserve, protect and interpret the history, language, culture and artistic heritage of First Nations.

The First Nations University of Canada will acquire and expand its base of knowledge and understanding in the best interests of First Nations and for the benefit of society by providing opportunities of quality bi-lingual and bi-cultural education under the mandate and control of the First Nations of Saskatchewan.

The First Nations University of Canada is a First Nations’ controlled university-college which provides educational opportunities to both First Nations and non-First Nations university students selected from a provincial, national and international base.

First Nations University of Canada courses, programs, and instructors are accredited by the University of Regina, and all University of Regina classes are open to FNUniv students. We offer academic programming through our Department of Indigenous Languages, Arts and Cultures; Department of Indigenous Education, Health and Social Work; and, Department of Indigenous Science, The Environment and Economic Development.

Source: First Nations University of Canada


GALLERY STRATFORD's EXHIBITION: "Dancing In The Dark" Permanent Collection Works From the 1980s

"Selfie with Norval Morrisseau" by Aidan Ware*

Dancing in the Dark: Permanent Collection Works From the 1980s

January 13 - April 05

Opening Reception:

Sunday, January 25, 1-3pm | Free

Dancing in the Dark presents works completed by artists during the 1980s from Gallery Stratford's permanent collection.

The exhibition hints at the broader socio-economic tensions stemming from the political situations of the time including the Cold War, the impetus towards new industrialized economies, a global recession, and profound changes in technology and communications including the advent of the Internet (World Wide Web).

Artistically, the decade was marked by diverse artistic practices and the arrival of postmodernism - defined by certain stylistic elements that include collage, simplification, appropriation, and assimilation of past styles and themes into new contexts, as well as the breakdown of barriers between "high" art and popular culture.

This exhibition includes works by: William Ronald, Norval Morrisseau, Paul Hunter, Carol Martyn, Otis Tamasauskas, Jan Winton, Richard Pottruff, Rick McCarthy, Stephen Livick. Jan Menses, and Tom Hodgson. 

* - Executive Director & Curator, Gallery Stratford. Writer, editor, photographer, passionate advocate of culture, creativity, imagination, and innovation.

Source: Gallery Stratford


Jessica Wilson about Norval Morrisseau


Jessica Wilson

Jessica Wilson is the curator. She’s with a Toronto company called Westerkirk Works of Art. She spent months tracking contact after contact, from company to individual, looking for Morriseau paintings.

“It’s amazing when you go from his early works to his later paintings,” she says, motioning with a nod toward the collection. “You realize that he would sometimes paint on anything that happened to be handy. For instance,” she moves to one wall, “this isn’t painted on canvas. He picked up an old cardboard poster, turned it over, and painted on that. ”

Moving further along, Wilson notes, “This painting is on brown paper. He didn’t always have canvas so he used whatever was available.”

Source (excerpt): Cultural contacts


Morrisseau lived in the Red Lake district for 13 years and spent much of his time depicting Ojibway legends on birchbark, plywood, mill paper, and canvas, some of which can be found in private collections of local or former area residents.

Since his death in 2007 Morrisseau’s work has become well known around Canada and now Wilson says the unique style is spreading internationally.

“We really believe he is a pioneer with a truly unique style that is inspiring a whole generation and movement of artists and it is very rare to say that,” characterized Wilson when asked why study Morriseau.

“In our own country we are learning about how his art has spread into Europe and his style. People are collecting his work all over the world. We really believe he is more important than he has been given credit for, even though the National Gallery has given him a show, I think that you can’t do enough to promote his art work.”

Source (excerpt): Studying Norval Morrisseau: Research project begins on well-known local artist


"Morrisseau's paintings were an escape from his difficult upbringing in a residential school and his challenges with drugs and alcohol.

They were a way to heal himself and move on with the positive aspects of life including his strong spirituality," says Wilson, who researched extensively to compile all available information into this single 108-page book*.

Each of the 42 uniquely styled, colourful paintings from the Westerkirk Works of Art private collection included in the book is analyzed within the context of Morrisseau's Native Canadian heritage."

Source (excerpt): New Book Examines Inspirations of Canada's Most Treasured Aboriginal Painter

* - This book had never been published. Why?



Barry Ace about Norval Morrisseau





"Perhaps more than any other Aboriginal artist in Canada, there is a voluminous collection of published and unpublished manuscripts and writings on the art of Norval Morrisseau. Yet today, we are no closer to arriving at an understanding of this larger-than-life Ojibway painter who remains shrouded under a veil of mystery and speculation. While many have sought to uncover the romanticized "Ishi-like" primitive who draws from his Ojibway heritage and secretive Midewiwin spiritual teachings, few have dared to venture into a critique of this complex man. Perhaps, even more poignantly, Morrisseau and those around him, were actively engaged in the mythic construction and public re/presentation of Morrisseau as a contemporary primitive.

A construct that has not only served as a mask to shelter undesirable influences of modernity, but also as a strategic marketing ploy that was incredibly successful in stimulating a lucrative art buying public, by offering them a rare opportunity to own a fragmentary glimpse of a mythical past. As the art buying public, dealers, and art institutions engaged in what can only be described as a Morrisseau “feeding frenzy”, the complexity involved in re-inventing, controlling and sheltering Morrisseau’s public and private spaces from the outside world became a hugely convoluted and contradictory task for all involved, including Morrisseau himself. The personal impact of this monstrosity of an illusion was so enormous, that few were immune from its negative impacts, and perhaps most tragically of all, was the toll it took on the physical and emotional state of Norval Morrisseau.

For many years following his arrival on the Canadian art scene, Morrisseau and those closest to him were mostly successful in shielding the constructed image of Norval Morrisseau from any outside critical scrutiny, but they were less successful in controlling and influencing internal cynicism and scrutiny from within his Ojibway cultural milieu and community. It is from this unique cultural vantage point that we can only now begin to meticulously unravel and dissect the very premise and raisonne d’etre behind the construction of this mythical Ojibway Medusa called Norval Morrisseau, where we find the primitive artist-asshaman mysteriously shrouded in a romanticized stasis existing simultaneously as a public dream and a private myth."

 For the continuation click here.

Note: This research is a must-read for anyone who wish to seriously study art and life of Norval Morrisseau.

~ For additional information click HERE.

* Research by Barry Ace titled "Norval Morrisseau: Artist As Shaman" posted on ACC/CCA website te; Barry Ace, born 1958, Anishinaabe (Odawa), a band member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
* Painting in this posting "Mishipeshieuw" © Norval Morrisseau posted on: " Norval Morrisseau and Medicine Painting" - a website by Paula Giese who was an Ojibwa from Minnesota; passed away in 1997.

Carmen Robertson about Norval Morrisseau

Carmen Robertson
Norval Morrisseau’s genius in art gaining recognition

Originally published on July 18th, 2013

Although renowned woodland artist Norval Morrisseau passed away in 2007, his “genius” as an artist is gaining more recognition than ever before.

“Since the retrospective exhibition in 2006, Canadians and audiences more generally in Canada have realized the amazing talent that he is as an artist and have started to look at the art in ways that they just sort of pigeon-holed prior to 2006 as ‘Native art,’” said Carmen Robertson, a Lokata art historian from the University of Regina. “Putting it into the National Gallery of Canada forced people to think about this art in new ways and see what an amazing colourist he was, to see the stories he tells.”

Robertson said Morrisseau has been taken more seriously as an artist since 2006.

“Because of this notoriety he has received and continues to receive now, people start to think about his work in ways that they hadn’t realized: all the themes in it, all the different subject matters that he was exploring,” Robertson said. “They’ve started to look at it more seriously and they’ve realized just how rich and multi-layered his work is.”

Robertson delivered a presentation on Morrisseau’s art, Telling Stories on Canvas: Norval Morrisseau’s Visual Narratives, on July 4 at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. She has completed a book on Morrisseau’s role as a trailblazer and another on how the Canadian press has imagined Indigenous peoples since Confederation.

“One of the really frustrating aspects that occurred with Morrisseau is there is a mythology around him that is negative, that is very stereotypical and connected to the kind of racism that we see in Canada’s press,” Robertson said. “But what’s really interesting is how Morrisseau, throughout these interviews and in quotes in newspapers but also in NFB documentary films, has talked back and has really kept saying to reporters in many of these reports: ‘It’s not about me, it’s about my art. Focus on my art, talk about my art.’”

Robertson said it is interesting to see how Morrisseau began to manipulate the stereotypes to work in his favour.

“For example, the connection to the shaman aspects, he really does promote those in the press because he sees that those positive aspects of the stereotypes are what people really wanted to see,” Robertson said. “So he begins to talk about himself as a shaman in ways he doesn’t at the beginning and re-imagines himself as well.”

Robertson said people are beginning to study his work and are recognizing his legacy.

“Today, students in art history classes throughout Canada are beginning to study Morrisseau and that’s a very exciting new direction,” Robertson said. “Art history programs and high school art programs have begun to add Morrisseau and his work to their offering so that a wider population has an opportunity to look more closely at his work.”

As more is written about Morrisseau and more people begin to talk about his work, Robertson said people will begin to realize that his contribution to Canadian art history is more than “just telling spiritual stories about Anishinabe ideas.”

“What we see is he created a unique visual language that no other Canadian artist did, and that to me is his incredible legacy,” Robertson said. “If you think of artists like Van Gogh or Picasso, they created a way about talking about the world through their art in new ways and new visual language. And Morrisseau did that in Canada. I think that is so important and internationally important. So we really need to start thinking about his genius as an artist.”

Rick Garrick

~ For additional information click HERE.


Sunday, January 25, 2015

>>> Genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings currently available on eBay (Part III)

~ Reference for Norval Morrisseau's admirers, & art collectors


© 1979 Norval Morrisseau
~ This painting on deer hide is also signed by the artist with a dry brush (DB) technique (click HERE for a detail and click HERE for canvas VERSO) /Click on image to Enlarge/
Source: 'eBay' Item number: 151565390824


>>> In a recent court judgement "Hatfield vs. Artworld of Sherway" /Court File No. SC-09-087264-0000/ Judge Paul J. Martial stated the following about Mr. Joseph McLeod of Maslak McLeod Gallery:

“He demonstrated a superior depth of knowledge of Morrisseau…” (Judgment by Judge Paul J Martial: March 25th, 2013 - Page 25)

“The testimony of Mr. Joseph McLeod is indicative of his care and the detailed effort to confirm provenance, including the hiring of a forensic expert to examine the signature on the back of the painting indicate that he took his role to provide appraisals seriously. His testimony… demonstrates his depth of knowledge of the painter due to his lengthy association with the artist.”
(Judgment by Judge Paul J Martial: March 25th, 2013 - Page 35)

"Dr. Singla's forensic evidence is preferred in this regard and his finding that it is highly probable that the painting "Wheel of Life" was painted by Norval Morrisseau was supported by his detailed technical analysis of known signatures of' Norval Morrisseau. (Judgment by Judge Paul J Martial: March 25th, 2013 - Page 37)

"The Court finds that there is overwhelming evidence that Norval Morrisseau signed paintings in black brush paint.” (Judgment by Judge Paul J Martial: March 25th, 2013 - Page 34)


>>> Reference posts (signatures):
Downloadable Norval Morrisseau Forensic Reports (Part III),
~ Mr. Brian Lindblom of 'The Document Examination Consultants Inc.' 
Downloadable Norval Morrisseau Forensic Reports (Part IV),
~ Dr. Atul K. Singla of 'Worldwide Forensic Services Inc.'
- Downloadable Norval Morrisseau Forensic Reports (Part V).
~ Mr. Kenneth J. Davies of 'Hawkeye Studios (Grapho-Lab® Services)'

>>> Related reference posts:
- Genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings currently available on eBay (Part I), - Genuine Norval Morrisseau paintings currently available on eBay (Part II), - Genuine 'Randy Potter Morrisseau painting' appraised by Mr. Galal Helmy for $100,000, - Another 'Randy Potter Morrisseau painting', similar to the one appraised by Mr. Helmy for $100,000,
- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.0,
Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.1,
Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.2,
Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.3,
- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.4,
- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.5,
- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.6,
- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.7,  

- Norval Morrisseau 'eBay' Report 1.8,  
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part I),
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part II),
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part III),
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part IV)
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part V)
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part VI)
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part VII) &
- Randy Potter's Morrisseau paintings available on eBay (Part VIII).