Norval Morrisseau

Norval Morrisseau, (b. March 1932 Sand Point Reserve, ON; d. December 2007 Toronto, ON).

The self taught Morrisseau of Ojibwa ancestry (a.k.a Copper Thunderbird) originated the pictographic style, better known as the "Woodlands School".


Entering the Canadian Art world stage in 1962, Morrisseau was the first artist of First Nations ancestry to break through the Canadian professional white-art barrier. Morrisseau's work was embraced and by the nineteen seventies younger artists painted exclusively in his genre.

Morrisseau struggled to reconcile traditional Midewiwin and Christian religions. Morrisseau continued to study Ojibwe shamanistic practices until late in his life, which he believed elevated his work to a higher plane of understanding.

In 2006, the National Gallery of Canada mounted Norval Morrisseau - Shaman Artist, a travelling retrospective exhibition of the artist's work.

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Norval Morrisseau, CM
a.k.a. Copper Thunderbird
Recipient: Order of Canada
Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek First Nation
Member: Indian Group of Seven
Founder: Woodlands School of Canadian Art
Considered the Mishomis (Grandfather) of Indigenous Art in Canada
National Gallery travelling exhibition 2006