Canada History Week 2022

VISUAL ARTS PROFESSIONAL NATIVE INDIAN ARTISTS INC. battled racism, discrimination, and exclusion to fight for professional respect and political selfdetermination. The seven Indigenous artists who formed PNIAI are Daphne Odjig, Joseph Sanchez, Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, Eddy Cobiness, Carl Ray, and Jackson Beardy. Prior to the development of contemporary Indigenous art and the formation of PNIAI, Indigenous art had been viewed as artifacts, something of interest for anthropologists, but not for a fine art gallery. The group, formalized in 1972, would meet in Daphne Odjig’s printmaking shop, which by 1974 became the first Indigenous-owned art gallery in Canada. The group disbanded in 1975, but the collective’s legacy of bringing contemporary Indigenous art to the public’s attention continues to inspire Indigenous artists. The PNIAI collective came up with their name themselves, but it is important to note that First Nations peoples in Canada were erroneously called “Indians” by European settlers. This term is now recognized as derogatory and is rarely used, except in some legal and historical documents, including the name of the PNIAI collective. “Aboriginal” is a legal term that encompasses all Status and Non-Status First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. Though “Aboriginal” and “Indigenous” are sometimes used interchangeably, we have used “Indigenous” in this magazine. Video Illustrator: Brent Hardisty is a Woodlands style painter who works in acrylics on canvas. His spiritual name is Niiwin Binesi, which translated roughly from Anishnaabemowin means Four Birds. He was influenced by graffiti sub-culture, and after making a name for himself within that scene, moved onto painting murals for organizations and businesses. His current style and medium were influenced by his upbringing in Sagamok First Nation. CHARLES EDENSHAW (TAHAYREN) was an Indigenous artist whose work remains important to understanding Haida culture. A large body of his work was done during a time when traditional Haida culture was at risk of disappearing due to ceremonial bans in the Indian Act. He was heralded during his lifetime by the Haida and by collectors as an accomplished carver, and continues to be among the best-known Haida artists. His early work carving totem poles still inspires carvers today. 4 Over the millennia, Indigenous art in Canada has varied in genre, style, function, imagery, and meaning from region to region. The oldest surviving visual artworks in what we now call Canada are around 5,000 years old, but the history of art in this land began long before that.