Untitled (Shaman Traveller to Other Worlds for Blessings), c. 1990
Norval (called Copper Thunderbird) Morrisseau
acrylic on canvas
124 x 147 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 41852)
Copyright Norval Morrisseau / Gabe Vadas. Courtesy of Kinsman Robinson Galleries, Toronto.
A concise rendering of essential aspects of Morrisseau’s oeuvre, it shows a shaman figure in transformation as the mythical thunderbird in flight. Evocative of a sense of unity that is an important component of Morrisseau’s thinking; he shows us all things in creation as related and necessary to each other. A shaman, in astral flight, enters a large circle. On the exterior of the circle, Morrisseau uses birds and fish to represent creatures from the sky (upper worlds) and water (underworlds) to provide a balance between these two poles. This idea of metaphysical balance is often present in Morrisseau’s work as he seeks to communicate the dualities inherent in all of creation.