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The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau

The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau

| 28 min

In this revealing study of Norval Morrisseau, filmed as he works among the lakes and woodlands of his ancestors, we see a remarkable Indigenous artist who emerged from a life of obscurity in the North American bush to become one of Canada's most renowned painters. Morrisseau the man is much like his paintings: vital and passionate, torn between his Ojibway heritage and the influences of the white man's world. Jack Pollock, the Toronto art gallery owner who discovered Morrisseau's paintings in the early 1960s, comments on what makes them so unique.

  • music
  • singer
  • lyrics
    Duke Redbird
  • director of photography
    David M. Ostriker
    Naohiko Kurita
    Jackson Samuels
  • writer
    Bruce Martin
  • editor
    Michael MacLaverty
  • director
    Duke Redbird
    Henning Jacobsen


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Ages 15 to 17

Arts Education - Visual Arts
Family Studies/Home Economics - Aging/Death and Dying
Indigenous Studies - Arts
Indigenous Studies - Identity/Society
Media Education - Documentary Film

Have media students consider how the film represents Morrisseau as an artist and as an Aboriginal person, and how an Aboriginal viewer might understand this film. Arts and Aboriginal Studies students can consider how the artist has integrated his native religion and Christianity; evaluate his representation of Aboriginal myths; examine his influence on art in modern Aboriginal culture; discuss how Morrisseau has influenced the non-Aboriginal view of Aboriginal identity; compare his art to Aboriginal world arts.

The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau
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