Coming of the Opposite, 1972
acrylic on canvas
61.3 x 92.3 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41203)
Janvier, the self-styled "first Indian modernist", combines Western abstraction inspired by the Russian Expressionist painter Wassily Kandinsky with the shapes and colours of Dene quillwork and beadwork. Moving away from pictorial representation towards the abstract is a technique employed by Janvier as a way to meld these two worlds. This work is signed with both the artist's last name and his treaty number, "287", asserting his personal identity while at the same time refuting the bureaucracies that try to constrain it.