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Celebrated Indigenous Artist Alex Janvier Passes Away at 89



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Renowned Indigenous artist Alex Janvier, known for blending Indigenous elements into modern art, has passed away at the age of 89.

Janvier’s vast body of work, which is displayed in numerous private homes and public galleries across Canada, has left an indelible mark on the art world.

His unique vision was a powerful expression of Indigenous culture and artistry mixed with contemporary influences.

The news of Janvier’s passing was shared during a moment of silence at the Assembly of First Nations annual general meeting.

Born in 1935 on the Cold Lake Indian Reserve, Janvier’s artistic journey began with a childhood filled with hunting, fishing, and trapping in the rugged landscapes of northern Canada.

At the Blue Quills Residential School, Janvier found solace in art, where he first discovered his passion for painting.

Under the guidance of Carlo Altenberg at the University of Alberta, Janvier’s exposure to modern European art styles like Kandinsky and Miro shaped his distinctive artistic voice.

Despite the challenges faced by Indigenous artists during his time, Janvier persevered and transitioned to full-time painting in 1962.

Together with renowned artists like Norval Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig, Janvier co-founded the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation to bring Indigenous art to the forefront of the mainstream art world.

Through his innovative use of traditional beadwork patterns and vivid colors, Janvier’s work found its way into galleries worldwide, from Stockholm to New York.

Notable pieces like ‘Iron Foot Place‘ at Edmonton‘s Rogers Place arena stand as testaments to his creative genius and cultural impact.

His contributions to art and Indigenous representation earned him national recognition, including the Order of Canada and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation.

Janvier’s legacy lives on through the Janvier Gallery, a testament to his enduring influence on the Canadian art scene.

Rachel Adams

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