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Archive: December, 2007

Norval Morrisseau (1932-2007)

December 18th, 2007


Norval Morrisseau, called Miskwaabik Animiiki or Copper Thunderbird, passed into the spirit world on December 4, 2007, after having lived on this earth for 75 years. Born in northern Ontario, Morrisseau came to prominence in the early 1960s after a sold-out exhibition at Jack Pollock’s gallery in Toronto. The artist and the dealer first met while they were both living in the pulp-and-paper town of Beardmore in northwestern Ontario, where Pollock was teaching art classes. He was struck by Morrisseau’s original imagery of colourful mythological creatures, delineated by bold black lines and painted on local kraft paper. The painter’s focus on traditional iconography – recovered from ancient memory erased by government policies of acculturation – was first met with rebuke by his elders. Over the course of his life and work, in fact, Morrisseau unleashed in a subsequent generation of artists a torrent of possibility, giving them a visual language in which to express their identity, culture and history.


In a recent tribute, Toronto artist Robert Houle, who was close friend of Morrisseau, wrote:

“Norval, like all innovators, had made a trajectory to contemporary cultural theory, an idea I was not to understand until quite recently. It situated Norval at the centre of a cultural transformation, contemporary Ojibwa art. This legendary artist had created a visual language whose lineage included the ancient shaman artists of the Midiwewin scrolls, the Agawa Bay rock paintings and the Peterborough petroglyphs. As a master narrator, he had a voice that thundered like the sentinel of a people still listening to the stories told since creation.”

Morrisseau, Norval
Moose Dream Legend 1962
Oil on wove paper 54.6 x 75.3 cm
Art Gallery of Ontario Gift of Procter and Gamble Canada Ltd., 1964
© 2007 Art Gallery of Ontario

What’s Cooking?

December 7th, 2007

Photo: Craig Boyko

With 2008 fast approaching, AGO executive chef Anne Yarymowich has temporarily traded in her chef’s hat and knives for a hard hat and
computer.

The Food and Beverage team has been busy collaborating
with the project office and the Gehry team to design an exciting new
collection of dining spaces for the transformed AGO, along with four
new kitchens that will serve up a little something for everyone.

"Transformation is the dish du jour," said Yarymowich, "with healthy portions of planning and design."

The new restaurant will include a dining area located at street level, with
direct access from Dundas Street. This upscale bistro will offer a hot
new menu, while a self-serve café on the concourse level will be
located directly below the restaurant.

On the third floor, the
Baillie Court Event Centre will offer vistas of Grange Park and the
John Street district to the south, and historic Walker Court with its
sculptural staircase to the north. This multi-purpose centre will host
AGO events, corporate functions and social gatherings. A fifth-floor
espresso bar and a newly designed Members’ Lounge will complete the
Food and Beverage program.

The team has been busy planning
everything from marketing concepts and wine lists to selecting
furnishings, china, stemware, flatware and uniforms. Also on its to-do
list are such tasks as designing menu packages and developing
recruiting and training strategies for its 100-plus staff.

Although
planning for the reopening is a priority, Yarymowich continues to stay
connected to the community through various culinary events. In the past
month, she has been involved with Picnic at the Brickworks, a Slow Food
event promoting local food, and Dishing for Dzerelo, a fundraising
cooking demonstration and luncheon for Children of Chernobyl. "Staying
in the game and keeping visible is key while we are under
construction," she says.

Yarymowich has also been invited to
partner with Montreal chef Jean-Paul Giroux at Restaurant Cuisine et
Dépendance for February’s Festival Montréal en Lumière, while in March
she will be participating in Toronto’s Terroir II, the second annual
Hospitality Symposium, which will celebrate gastronomic diversity.