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‘Morning Star’ shines at Museum of Civilization

The Story


Native artist Alex Janvier has spent most of the last four months flat on his back. Like "a modern Michelangelo," he's been lying down to paint a huge mural on the domed ceiling of Ottawa's Museum of Civilization. Last week, that painting was finally revealed. The vibrant, colourful mural is called Morning Star, and Janvier considers it a "once-in-a-lifetime project." In this 1993 CBC-TV report, gallery-goers at the unveiling are blown away by the mural's beauty. "It's just about overwhelming," says one man.

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Sept. 14, 1993
Guests: Alex Janvier, Dean Janvier
Reporter: Ken Nyhuus
Duration: 4:50

Did You know?


• Alex Janvier was born in 1935 on Le Goff Reserve, Cold Lake First Nations in northern Alberta.

• He attended a residential school as a child.

• After finishing high school he attended the Alberta College of Art in Calgary, where he first experimented with modernist abstractions.

• Janvier has always been passionate about native rights and politics, incorporating related themes into a number of his artworks over the years. In the 1960s and '70s, he even signed many of his painting with his treaty number, 287, as a way of protesting the government's policies for aboriginal people.

• According to the Museum of Civilization website, each quadrant of 1993's Morning Star represents a different period in native history: "In the yellow quadrant, a balance of colour and shape reflects a time when the First Peoples were in harmony with nature, with the Great Spirit, and with each other... In the blue quadrant, a lack of decoration signifies the weakness of native culture, overwhelmed by European culture... The red quadrant depicts a time of revival and a new optimism... The last quadrant, white to link back to the white centre of Morning Star, portrays healing, renewed self-respect, reconciliation and restructuring -- a return to a state of harmony."

 

 


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