Indigenous

First Nation artist Daphne Odjig remembered at Art Gallery of Ontario memorial

The Art Gallery of Ontario will hold a memorial for First Nation artist Daphne Odjig Jan. 18. She died in October 2016 at the age of 97.

The gallery recently acquired a new Odjig painting, to be on display at event

A new exhibition at the AGO will celebrate the work of Daphne Odjig. (Rosalie Favell, Facing the Camera: Daphne Odjig, Ottawa, ON, 2009)

The Art Gallery of Ontario will hold a memorial for First Nation artist Daphne Odjig Jan. 18. She died in October 2016 at the age of 97.

Odjig is best known for her work with the Indian Group of Seven, and she is often referred to as the "grandmother of First nations art." 

"I consider Daphne to be the grandmother of contemporary Indigenous art, especially for us Anishinaabe," said Wanda Nanibush, the AGO's assistant curator of Canadian and Indigenous art in a statement. 

"She kicked in doors for us all… [and] was instrumental in helping other artists blossom too."

Daphne Odjig on her paintings

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Nanibush said Odjig helped other artists through Professional Native Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven.

She started the group after seeing how little space was available for Indigenous art in Canada. The group was based in Winnipeg, but held exhibits across the country.

"She and Alex Janvier walked out of the museum object case into the contemporary art galleries — forever changing the way Indigenous art was categorized," said Nanibush.

"[Odjig] used to sit at the AGO and study painting techniques from the artists on the walls… she is now on our walls."

The Art Gallery of Ontario has acquired a new Odjig painting — Odjig Family; Father, Mother, Grandfather, Stanley, Daphne, Donald, Winnie, Xmas, Dec 25th will be on display starting Jan. 18. (AGO)

The Art Gallery of Ontario has acquired a new Odjig painting from 1986 for their collection, which portrays her family.

The opening night will include a screening of the 2008 documentary The Life and Works of Daphne Odjig. Odjig's colleagues, friends and family are set to speak.

"We want to honour her immense talent and generous soul," said Nanibush. "It is a great loss but we can celebrate her long, happy, inspired life."

Daphne Odjig: In Remembrance will take place January 18 at 7 p.m. ET at the Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas st., Toronto.

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