More: Page Two; We are all Norval's Children; No, No Morrisseau,
Finding a better way … for Norval’s sake
I am loath to write anything about great Canadian artist Norval Morrisseau. The opposing parties of the fake art controversy seize every opportunity to pull bystanders into their fray. However, scholarly, creative and memoir-like books should be written about Norval. After all, he was and continues to be inspirational. I know that Ottawa-based scholar Armand Garnet Ruffo is working on Morrisseau material as he spoke to both me and Robert Lavack a while ago. University of Toronto Libraries, “Canadian Poetry Online” indicate, “He is currently completing a book length creative exploration of the life and work of the acclaimed Ojibway painter Norval Morrisseau.” I also know that Michele Vadas is compiling her memories of Norval’s life. Before the claws come out to attack this latter project, let it be known that illuminations of Norval’s life serve to enlarge his legacy. There has to be a better way to move forward …
Robert Lavack and the Norval Morrisseau Postage Stamp
1990 ~ This year, Canada Post Corporation's annual Christmas set featured the works of four native Canadian artists. Each one has depicted the nativity or the origin of human life according to their particular cultural beliefs. On the 39¢ domestic rate, Norval Morrisseau (Ojibwa) "nativizes" a classic Christian image in his painting "Virgin Mary with Christ Child and St. John the Baptist."
Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre
Norval Morrisseau and the Nobel Peace Prize
One may advocate for peace in many different ways as the faces of peace are as varied as the peoples of this earth. Some people use words, some political activism, some peaceful resistance, others work to broker peace or act as iconic images of the meaning of peace. Canada is very proud that native artist Norval Morrisseau took up paintbrushes to provide the world with colourful images depicting the importance of living at peace with oneself and nature. In addition to a significant oeuvre that sends strong messages of peace world wide, Mr. Morrisseau himself serves an an icon of peace.
Mr. Morrisseau is a model of hope and survival for indigenous peoples. He has instilled in them a sense of pride in their heritage and identity. He is the founder of a new artistic way of depicting native legends. A pioneer with his own works, he is the mentor to generations of new artists. Additionally, he has overcome great personal difficulties throughout his life and he bravely continues to face the challenges of ill health. His life is as inspirational as his art.
Mr. Morrisseau's art works hang in public places in Canada and world-wide. He has taken aboriginal art out of a narrow niche and made its powerful messages available to a broad and diverse audience, important messages that would get even more recognition with a Nobel Peace Prize. Messages such as:
- We are connected to nature and to one another.
- We must live in harmony with nature and one another.
- We must be at peace with ourselves
Norval Morrisseau's symbolic messages, colourfully rendered, are important not just for our time, but also for any time as he is building peace for himself, his people and for the world from the inside out. Pride in one's heritage, identity and self will always be great starting points for establishing a peaceful world.
Norval lives with his family of choice, Gabe and Michelle Vadas and children. Gabe and Michelle provide a loving home environment for the Parkinson's challenged Norval. The photo above is taken at their home. Gabe and Michelle are also custodians of his works with Gabe providing business leadership for Norval.
If you own a Norval Morrisseau painting and would like to authenticate it, contact the Norval Morrisseau Heritage Society at firstname.lastname@example.org