Feature artist for June 2019: Daphne Odjig

Detail of Reflections #112 by Daphne Odjig is on exhibit at the Red Deer Museum + Gallery until July 8, 2019. It was a gift of the estate of Dr. Kathleen Anderson Swallow.

(ANNews) – The beautiful image on the cover of this month’s Alberta Native News is Reflections #112 by the amazing Daphne Odjig, one of the most respected and uniquely individualistic New Woodland artists.

The painting is part of a very special exhibit currently featured at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery entitled Kinship: Images of Family and Community from the MAG’s Indigenous and Inuit Art Collection. The exhibit will be on display at MAG until July 8, 2019.

Reflections #112 is part of an impressive collection of Indigenous and Inuit art that was very generously bequeathed to MAG by donor Dr. Kathleen Swallow in the 1980s. Works from this bequest as well as works from the museum’s broader art collection are on display, celebrating the kinship of family and community relationships. They include paintings, prints and sculpture that tell stories of parenthood, childhood and friendship.

Artist Daphne Odjig was born in 1919 on the Wikwemikong Reserve on Manitoulin Island, a member of the Ojibwa tribe. Over the years, she has developed a distinct style based on the beautifully abstracted human form.  The visual motif central to her work is the circle, which to the Ojibwa signifies completion and perfection and is symbolic to women.  This motif is characterized by undulating, rhythmic lines, often heavily outlined, enclosing local colour in soft harmonious shades.  Her subject matter deals with human relationships in the context of Indigenous culture, the importance of grandparents, the function of the family unit, and the universal theme of mother and child.

Odjig has received numerous accolades for her art.  These include an appointment to the Order of Canada, an election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art, Honourary Doctor degrees from the University of Toronto, Laurentian University and Nipissing University of North Bay, and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award.

Since 1964, Daphne Odjig has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions in Canada and abroad.  Her works have been collected by many public and private collectors including the Canadian Museum of Civilization, McMichael Canadian Collection, the Department of Indian Affairs, and the Canada Council Art Bank.

On the subject of her art, Odjig is quoted as saying,

“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 that have followed our generation to express their pride in our heritage more openly, more joyfully than I would have ever dared to think possible.”

For more information please visit reddeermuseum.com.


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