First Nations, Inuit, and Métis art varies across the country depending on the community, natural landscape, and cultural practices. Woven into forms such as carvings, paintings, and intricate beadwork are the traditions and knowledges of generations. Art opens new dialogues on the past, present, and future relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Today is about connecting to the cultural, social, and relational views expressed through Indigenous art.
The Indigenous Group of 7:
This group of 7 was started after Daphne Odjig held a successful joint exhibition with other artists in 1972 based on the art of Indigenous peoples. The joint exhibition focused on painting Canadian landscapes, spending three years touring to promote Indigenous art in the Western art world. During their short time, they paved the way for future artists by establishing scholarships, funding, and by making Indigenous art a significant part of the art world in Canada.
Members: Daphne Odjig, Alex Janvier, Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray, Joseph Sanchez, and Bill Reid.
Art by the Group of 7:
More Information on the Group of 7:
Explore More Indigenous Art:
It is impossible to explore the diversity of Indigenous art in one post. Indigenous art is diverse in style, medium, and by place. Below you will find resources that explore various forms and styles of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis art across Turtle Island.
Quamajuq – the largest Inuit art centre in the world
- 10 Nunatsiavut Artists to Know
- A tour of baskets found across Turtle Island.
- Totems: The Stories They Tell
- Indigenous Art Across Canada
- Podcast: Native Artist by INDIGEFI
- Randy Goldsmith: Coast Salish Master Carver
- How a day for truth and reconciliation inspired these Indigenous Artists
Reconciliation through art is not just about learning from art, but also from respecting it. When using Indigenous art or imagery, acknowledge the artist and the traditions that inspired their work. Indigenous artwork or styles should not be copied without permission in respect of the traditions and knowledge they hold.
Artists You Should Meet:
Daphne Odjig was an Anishinaabe artists and an advocate for Indigenous contemporary art. She was the first First Nation woman to have an exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada titled Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig: A Retrospective Exhibition.
Bill Reid was a Vancouver artist with Haida roots. A bridge between two worlds, Reid infused Haida traditions into his artwork – whether it be a carving, sculpture, or written work. Remembered as one of the most significant Northwest Coast artists, Reid created over 1,000 pieces of art during his lifetime.
Alex Janvier : After attending Blue Quills Residential School, Alex Janvier decided to pursue his artistic side by attending the Alberta College of Art in Calgary. His style is symbolic and abstract, using bright colours to express his unique culture and life experiences. And, at 87 years old, Alex is still creating daily.