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Updated: Oct 21, 2021

Indigenous Woodland Art/


Woodland art , West Coast Art and Inuit art are three recognized schools of art popularized by many contemporary Canadian native artists. All three categories have been sourced from ancient traditions that, despite acculturation, have endured to the present day. Norval Morrisseau , an Ojibway artist from Northern Ontario, is considered to be the founder of the Woodland School of Art. He was the first Ojibway to break the tribal rules of setting down Native legends in picture form. Ojibwa beliefs, culture and the way of life had been passed orally from one generation to the next for thousands of years. He was born in the early 1930s on the Sandy Point Lake Reserve north of Thunder Bay in Ontario Canada. He was raised by his Grandparents and through them learned traditional Ojibwa customs, values and beliefs. It was in his youth that he was inspired by his Grandfather to share through art, all of those things he was taught to respect about Ojibwa culture. He traveled widely to bush communities in Canada and northern Minnesota reservations where he met with many knowledgeable elders, both to learn from them and to teach painting and writing. The Woodland style developed as a direct result of the imagery Norval Morrisseau created in the early 1960's. His paintings illustrate the interconnection between all life forms, revitalizing traditional Ahnisnabae icons. He developed a style of painting that combines traditional stories and teachings with myth and lore; changing the conversations about what it means to be Anishinaabe. Today, there are many artists who paint in the Woodland style, merging oral storytelling and spiritual concepts with visual art. Norval Morrisseau was awarded the Order of Canada for his contribution to Canadian art. He laid the groundwork for Canadian Native artists to be authentic to their own culture and experiences

Class images inspired by Canadian Contemporary Woodland Artists


 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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