By Raven Brass

morrisseau painting

One of the Norval Morrisseau paintings on display at The Plain Red Art Gallery until April 10, 2015. Photo credit: Raven Brass.

(Regina, SK) Last Friday, the Plain Red Art Gallery at the First Nations University of Canada hosted a celebration of Norval Morrisseau’s colourful artwork during a symposium held in honour of Morrisseau.

Armand Garnet Ruffo, one of the speakers at the symposium, published a book, Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird, a biography on Morrisseau.

“I look at all the major events in his life, I also wanted to try to emulate and look at how the writing could possibly mere the painting,” shared Ruffo.

When asked if Ruffo ever met Morrisseau, he confessed to having interviewed him a number of times, as well as interviewing 50 people or so who knew Morrisseau personally, ranging from family members to friends, to lovers and even people Morrisseau lived with.

“I read boxes of materials, there were so much written about him, journalistic articles, documentaries, poems and plays, but there has never been a comprehensive book, so I pulled all that stuff together and tried to forget it and just write the book” said Ruffo.

Ruffo first became intrigued with Morrisseau when he got one of his first jobs with the Native Perspective magazine many years ago, which did an article on Morrisseau.

“I kind of knew a little bit about him, but I also never forgot his art. So I slowly started reading more and more about him, and it expanded. I realized how important he was, because not only does his art, talk about the mythic, but his life reflects a period in Canada,” says Ruffo. “When Indigenous cultures weren’t valued, and he represented the generation of my mother; I was really interested in what they went through. And of course he was different, because he had this amazing talent.”

The Norval Morrisseau exhibit will run at the Plain Red Art Gallery until April 10, 2015.

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