One of Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous painters and printmakers, Daphne Odjig, passed into the Spirit World on Oct. 1 at the age of 97. Born on Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, of Pottawatomi and English heritage, she first learned about art-making from her grandfather, Jonas Odjig, a tombstone carver who taught her to draw and paint. She later moved to British Columbia.
Odjig’s style, which underwent several developments and adaptations from decade to decade, is always identifiable. Mixing traditional Indigenous styles and imagery with Cubist and Surrealist influences, Odjig’s work is defined by curving contours, strong outlining, overlapping shapes and an unsurpassed sense of colour.
Her work has addressed issues of colonization, the displacement of Indigenous peoples, and the status of Indigenous women and children, bringing Indigenous political issues to the forefront of contemporary art practices and theory.
In 2007, Odjig received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
The Anishinabek Nation and her home of Wikwemikong are proud of to have known this outstanding Anishinabek citizen.