Daphne Odjig

Daphne Odjig

  • Biography

    Daphne Odjig was a Canadian painter of Potawatomi and British descent, celebrated for her bold depictions of family, myth and history. She is widely regarded as one of Canada’s foremost Indigenous artists and cultural activists.

    Odjig was born in 1919 on the Wikwemikong Reserve of Manitoulin Island, Ontario. She attended a Jesuit Mission school and was an excellent student, athlete, musician and artist. When rheumatic fever forced her to stop formal education at the age of 13, she continued to receive artistic instruction from her paternal grandfather, a stone carver and storyteller. Following her mother and grandfather’s deaths in 1938, Odjig moved to Parry Sound and then Toronto, where she encountered racism for the first time. In an attempt to find employment, Odjig was forced to conceal her First Nations identity and changed her surname to Fisher. Odjig moved to British Columbia (the Fraser Valley) in 1945 to marry Paul Somerville, a Mohawk / Metis Second World War veteran. She became stepmother to Somerville’s son, David, and gave birth to Stanley Somerville in 1948. The family lived in British Columbia until Paul’s death in 1962.

    In the mid-1960s, two major events brought Indigenous issues to the forefront of Odjig’s life and artistic practice. In 1964, Odjig attended the fourth annual Wikwemikong Pow Wow and was deeply inspired by the proud cultural display. She met with community elders, and listened to their telling of the Nanabush trickster legends; she would later publish the illustrated children’s book series Nanabush Tales. In 1966, Odjig and her second husband, Chester Beavon, a community development officer for the Department of Indian Affairs, were posted to a small Cree community in Northern Manitoba. Odjig sketched life in the poverty-stricken community, capturing in naturalistic detail the hardships associated with relocation. Odjig’s first public solo exhibition was held in Lakehead Art Centre in Thunder Bay in 1967.

    Over the following decades, Odjig focused on themes related to her First Nations heritage: narratives from legend, colonial history and everyday family life. Her bold style was varied and experimental, incorporating influences from Surrealism, Cubism and Expressionism, as well as the contemporary Woodland style. Odjig’s commitment to First Nations culture extended beyond her own practice - in 1970, Odjig and Beavon established Odjig Indian Prints of Canada, and shortly after opened the Warehouse Gallery in downtown Winnipeg. The Warehouse was the first gallery in Canada to be owned and operated by a person of Indigenous heritage, and was the founding location of the Professional Indian Artists Inc. (known colloquially as the Indian Group of Seven). Odjig’s 1978 commission, The Indian in Transition, is considered by many to be her masterwork. Hanging today in the Canadian Museum of History, the 8 x 27 foot canvas tells a story of First Nations persecution and revitalization.

    Odjig relocated to the Okanagan valley in the 1976, where she lived for the remainder of her life. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Order of Canada (1986), the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2007), the Order of British Columbia (2007) as well as five honourary degrees. In 2007, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Sudbury organized a major retrospective of Odjig’s work - The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig: A Retrospective Exhibition

    Daphne Odjig passed away in Kelowna at the age of 97.

Showing 1–30 of 61 artworks

Daphne Odjig

A New Life Begins
11 x 9″ Coloured Pencil $3,155 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Belonging - One of Four - Homage Grandfather Portfolio - Set 16/99
32 x 21″ Silk Screen $2,500 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Comforting - One of Four - Homage To Grandfather Portfolio Set 16/99
32 x 21″ Silk Screen $2,500 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Learning - One of Four - Homage To Grandfather Portfolio Set 16/99
32 x 21″ Silk Screen $2,500 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Listening - One of Four - Homage To Grandfather Portfolio  Set 16/99
32 x 21″ Silk Screen $2,500 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Fire of the Maple Leaves - 1968
34.5 x 22″ Oil Pastel on Paper $30,500 CAD

Daphne Odjig

Two Nudes - 1962
22 x 30″ Oil on board $28,200 CAD

Daphne Odjig

The Squaw Man - 1970
40 x 30″ Acrylic on board $54,400 CAD

Daphne Odjig

United States Issue Stamp - 2011
1.5 x 1.25″ Print Media Sold

Daphne Odjig

Tribute To Courage -  1987 - AP
22 x 18″ Silk Screen Sold

Daphne Odjig

Tribal Responsibility -1987
36 x 34″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Togetherness
40 x 36″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Timber Lease In Paradise - 1986
59.5 x 31.5″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

The Wedding Dance - 1988
38 x 32″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

The Sentinels of Knowledge -1981
30 x 24″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

The Legend of the Vain Girl and the Serpent Man -1978
30 x 24″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

The Grand Entrance - 1978
24 x 20″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

The Battle of Good and Evil - 1968
24 x 36″ Acrylic on paper Sold

Daphne Odjig

Tapestry of Time
40 x 32″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Summer - 1973
20 x 17″ Acrylic on paper Sold

Daphne Odjig

Spring Flowers
26 x 28.5″ Glass Sold

Daphne Odjig

Spring 1993
26 x 30.25″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Singing a Lullaby
24 x 18″ Pastel Sold

Daphne Odjig

Siblings - 1983
34 x 26″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Resting - 1982
20 x 18″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Regeneration - #10 - 1981
24 x 18″ Pastel Sold

Daphne Odjig

Pow Wow Dancer - 1978
34 x 36″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Pow Wow - 1985
24 x 20″ Acrylic on canvas Sold

Daphne Odjig

Poster From 4 Decades of Prints
23 x 13.5″ Print Media Sold

Daphne Odjig

Poster form National Gallery Show 2009
33 x 23″ Print Media Sold