The Life and Work of the Woodland Artists

The Life and Work of the Woodland Artists

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46 minutes


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In the 1970s, Potawatomi painter Daphne Odjig brought together a small group of native artists to collaborate with and support one another. The group-Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Beardy, Carl Ray, Joseph Sanchez, Eddy Cobiness and Alex Janvier-quickly gained attention for their spirited, stylized canvases that gave a visual interpretation to the First Nations oral tradition and challenged the establishment's perspective of Aboriginal art as craft. The group's work covered the gamut from intensely spiritual to slyly humourous, deeply personal to fiercely political. It took Canada by storm, in both native and non-native communities. Eventually they were even referred to as the "Indian Group of Seven," a tongue-in-cheek comparison that nonetheless pointed to the impact this group made both culturally and politically.

The Life and Work of the Woodland Artists traces this pivotal transition in Canadian and Aboriginal consciousness through candid interviews with surviving members Odjig and Janvier, the group's family members and art critics, archival radio interviews with Jackson Beardy and Eddy Cobiness, as well as commentary from well-known Métis artists Duke Redbird and Bob Boyer of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College.

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