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Alex Janvier

Lifetime Achievement (2002)

Artist, educator, mentor, political activist: Alex Janvier has been all four, and so much more. He has spent more than 40 years at the forefront of Aboriginal art in Canada – with no signs of slowing down – and his works are now in the permanent collections of at least 30 corporate, public and government institutions, which include:  the Canada Council Art Bank, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Shell Canada Resources, the Glenbow Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. A journalist once described this painter as, “An original member of the Native Group of Seven and the first Native to use the modern language of modern art to tell his story.” Mr. Janvier has also served as an Aboriginal art ambassador and his paintings have been exhibited in Canada, in the United States and overseas in Sweden. Here at home, his incredible 450 square-metre mural, Morning Star, graces the dome of the Grand Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in the National Capital Region and will be experienced by visitors there for all time. He has made both First Nations people and Canadians proud. “One should call a picture well painted only if it possesses the fullness of life,” Mr. Janvier says. A proud Dene, this aesthetic warrior signed his paintings with his Treaty Number from 1966 to 1977 to protest government policies against Aboriginal people. Mr. Janvier is a giant of his time and has served as a major influence on a new generation of Aboriginal artists.