Civilization Museum Honors Daphne Odjig's Art

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The Canadian Museum of Civilization is celebrating one of Canada's most influential visual artists with a retrospective exhibition to be presented from January 18 to April 20, 2008. Daphne Odjig: Four Decades of Prints traces the Aboriginal artist's creative arc from powerful, groundbreaking experimentation to graceful, mature expression.

"If my work as an artist has somehow helped to open doors between our people and the non-Native community, then I am glad. I am even more deeply pleased if it has helped to encourage the young people who have followed our generation to express their pride in our heritage more openly, more joyfully than I would ever have dared to think possible." Daphne Odjig

Ms. Odjig is known for her use of vibrant colours and bold imagery inspired as much by Picasso's Cubism as by Anishnabe and Cree mythology. A member of the so-called "Indian Group of Seven", she was at the forefront of the cultural revival that transformed the world's perception of Native art in the 1960s and '70s.

"Daphne Odjig is one of Canada's most important cultural leaders. Not only did she create her own iconic style, she also influenced and nurtured a generation of fellow Aboriginal artists and the visual arts community as a whole," said Dr. Victor Rabinovitch, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. "We're proud to showcase her work as part of the Museum of Civilization's ongoing commitment to examine and celebrate the heritage, traditions and artistic expression of Canada's First Peoples."

As a self-taught artist, she initially struggled for acceptance by Canada's artistic establishment. By the 1970s, her rare talent and unique vision had won her widespread recognition and a prominent place in the pantheon of Aboriginal artists, alongside Alex Janvier and the late Norval Morrisseau. She represented Canada at Expo '70 in Japan and, in 1986, was one of only four artists chosen to paint a memorial to Picasso in Antibes, France. In 2002, Canada Post issued a holiday stamp of her 1976 painting Genesis.

Ms. Odjig's contributions to Canadian art and her support of other artists have earned her two eagle feathers, five honorary degrees, the Order of Canada, a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts, and numerous other accolades.

Daphne Odjig: Four Decades of Prints features 95 large prints representing different dimensions of the artist's style as it evolved from its bold beginnings to the softer and more subtle qualities evident in her more recent works.

Ms. Odjig was born in 1919 at Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, to a Potawatomi father and a British war bride mother. She now lives in Penticton, B.C., with her husband of 45 years, Chester Beavon.

Daphne Odjig: Four Decades of Prints is organized by the Kamloops Art Gallery (KAG) in Kamloops, British-Columbia. The colour catalogue published by the KAG features an essay by First Nations writer and curator Morgan Wood and a foreword by KAG Executive Director Jann LM Bailey that provide fresh insights into the life and work of this great artist. --

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