Ancestral Portraits, The Colour of My People


Author:
McDonald, Frederick R.
Grade Levels:
Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, College, University
Nation:
Cree, Subarctic
Book Type:
PB
Pages:
95
Publisher:
University of Calgary Press

Price:
Sale price$35.95

Description

Ancestral Portraits: The Colour of My People is a retrospective collection of the paintings, prose and poetry of Cree artist Frederick R. McDonald. This 95-page book presents the artist's work with his personal artist statements about most pieces. With an MFA degree from the University of Calgary, this artist spent his earlier working years in the oil industry. Growing up in a northern community along the Athabasca River in northern Alberta, McDonald spent his early years living with his extended Woodland Cree family. This retrospective of his work is organized into sections that reflect the artist's perspective on First Nations art and politics, his family, influences of high school, his travels within Canada and Australia, reserves and segregation, personal promises, colour and light, ancestors, spirituality, and the North. Strong colours and identifiable imagery can be found in McDonald's canvases. When he is painting specific family members or portraits of heroes such as Crowfoot, Almighty Voice or Louis Riel, the viewer can readily see McDonald's caring and connection to his subject. Whether he is painting an image of Elvis or Chief Dan George, McDonald provides additional commentary on the world around him and his people's history. He makes political statements about rodeos, economic development, treaties and Christianity as well as providing loving tributes to his family members and honoured elders. Even the image of a friend golfing or another of a Native medical doctor shows the respect the artist has for these contemporary activities. Although there is no critical essay about the artist's work, the personal reflections by McDonald of his influences and inspirations make up for this oversight. This book is a valuable introduction for anyone interested in First Nations art and artists.

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