Telling Stories on Canvas: Norval Morrisseau’s Visual Narratives

Art

On Thursday, July 4 at 7:30 pm, join Dr. Carmen Robertson as she discusses the work of Norval Morrisseau in conjunction with the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s exhibition Morrisseau: Works on Paper.

Norval Morrisseau’s entrance onto the Canadian art scene in 1962 introduced a unique artistic language steeped in Ahnisnabae cultural traditions. Melding oral narratives, personal storytelling, and a visual language that draws on indigenous visual elements, Morrisseau’s art serves as a hybrid form of visual narratives. His work draws on a range of influences in order to shape stories on canvas that reach back to the past, take from the present, and exert a transformative influence on the future. Dr. Robertson’s lecture will discuss works by Morrisseau that confirm the importance of narrative in his art and acknowledge the multi-layered stories embedded in his artwork.

Dr. Robertson has taught at the University of Regina since 2006. Previously, she was the head of the Indian Fine Arts department and an instructor of Indian Art History at the First Nations University of Canada. A specialist in contemporary Canadian indigenous art history, visual culture, and colonial issues, she has received two grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and has written and published widely. Her Lakota-Scottish ancestry has influenced her research and teaching directions in numerous ways. Recently, she completed a large historical study of how the Canadian press has imagined indigenous peoples since confederation that culminated in Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canada’s Newspapers (published in 2011, and co-written with Mark C. Anderson). Her recent research has focused on the media and popular culture constructions of indigenous peoples and how contemporary artists have ‘talked back’ to these tropes. This theme has been developed in several projects including her current book project related to Ahnisnabae artist Norval Morrisseau and his role as a trailblazer in contemporary Canadian art history. Dr. Robertson is a board member of the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society and is currently the past-president of the Native Heritage Foundation of Canada.

This lecture is co-presented and supported by the Department of Aboriginal Education at Lakehead University’s Faculty of Education; it is open to the public, donations welcomed. 

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