The thunderbird poems / Armand Garnet Ruffo.

Main Author: Ruffo, Armand Garnet, 1955-
Published: Madeira Park, BC : Harbour Publishing, [2015]
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Summary

Norval Morrisseau's revered work has been honoured, copied and recognized throughout the art world and beyond. Less widely known but equally captivating is the artist's personal life story, which poet and biographer Armand Garnet Ruffo related in his powerful narrative biography, Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird (Douglas & McIntyre, 2014). Ruffo immersed himself in the life and work of the artist, gaining insight into the struggles and sources of inspiration underlying Morrisseau's greatest works through research and interviews with the artist himselfa connection further strengthened by their shared Ojibway heritage. His lengthy study of Morrisseau inspired Ruffo to write poems reflecting on both the works of art and the emotional context in which Morrisseau painted them. The Thunderbird Poems complements the highly evocative and poetic biography, delving into Morrisseau's creative life through compressed, imagistic language, while untangling the complex and powerful threads of meaning, tradition and emotional power that resonate throughout Morrisseau's strong lines and vibrant colours. Significant themes in Morrisseau's work are mirrored in The Thunderbird Poems: Ojibway legends, Morrisseau's conflicted religious beliefs, political tensions between white and aboriginal Canadians. Significant moments in Morrisseau's life are also traced along with the development of his artistic career. Deeply immersed in Morrisseau's life story, and possessing thorough knowledge of the Ojibway storytelling traditions which grounded so much of the artist's beliefs and creativity, Ruffo provides fresh poetic interpretations of the most renowned and striking works of one of Canada's most celebrated painters.


Table of Contents

Life Scroll

Life Scroll, n.d.

p. 15

The Mishipashoo, 1958-60

p. 16

Ancestors Performing the Ritual of the Shaking Tent, c. 1958-61

p. 17

Sacred Bear from Vision, 1959-60

p. 19

Untitled (Thunderbird), 1960

p. 22

Death the Devourer of Human Flesh, c.1964

p. 23

Thunderbird and Snake, 1966

p. 24

Earth Mother, 1966

p. 25

Four Loons, 1968

p. 26

Self Portrait, 1968

p. 27

White Man's Curse, 1969

p. 28

Sacred Beaver, 1969

p. 29

Untitled (transformation subject, shaman to bear), n.d.

p. 31

Shaman Rider

Shaman Rider, 1972

p. 35

Artist in Union with Mother Earth, 1972

p. 38

Self-Portrait. Devoured by His Own Passion, 1974

p. 39

Indian Jesus Christ, 1974

p. 40

Sacred Medicine Bear, 1974

p. 41

Angry Thunderbird, 1975

p. 43

The Gift, 1975

p. 44

The Artist and His Four Wives, 1975

p. 45

Mother Earth, 1975

p. 47

Nature's Balance, 1975

p. 49

The Land (Land Rights), 1976

p. 50

Spiritual Self Emerges, 1976

p. 52

Man Changing into Thunderbird (Transmigration), 1977

p. 53

Untitled (Abomination), 1977

p. 61

The Storyteller: The Artist and His Grandfather, 1978

p. 63

Victoria and Family, 1978

p. 65

Astral Thunderbird, 1978

p. 67

Windigo, 1979

p. 68

The Other Side of the Shaman, 1979

p. 69

Indian Erotic Fantasy, n.d.

p. 70

Mother of All Things

Mother of All Things, 1980

p. 75

Child with Flowers, 1980

p. 76

We Are All One, 1981

p. 77

The Children, 1982

p. 78

Androgyny, 1983

p. 79

Ojibway Family under the Tree of life, 1987

p. 80

Spirit Helpers, 1988

p. 81

Untitled ("Norval's Dick Drawings"), 1990

p. 82

Untitled (Shaman Traveller to Other Worlds for Blessings), c. 1990s

p. 83

The Great Migration, 1992

p. 84

Observations of the Astral World, 1994

p. 86

Ojibway Story Tree, 1996 88 A Tribute to My Beloved Daughter-in-law, c. 1995-96

p. 89

Lily of the Mohawk, 1995-96 91 Untitled (Thunderbird and Canoe in Flight, Norval on Scooter), c. 1990s

p. 92

Medicine Man with Bear (The Poisoned Bear), 1996

p. 93

Encircling Serpent with Ancestors, c. 1996

p. 95

Apprentice, 1997

p. 96

Natural Balance, 1997

p. 97

Indian Canoe

Indian Canoe, n.d.

p. 101

A Note on the Life and Art of Norval Morrisseau

p. 103

Acknowledgements

p. 105

A Note on the Author

p. 107