First Name: Jackson
Last Name: Beardy
Full Name: Jackson Beardy
Name in syllabics: N/A
Alternative Names: N/A
Date of birth: July 24, 1944
Place of birth: Garden Hill Reserve, Island Lake, Canada
Date of death: December 7, 1984
Place of death: Winnipeg, Canada
Community / Heritage: Anishinaabe: Ojibwe and Cree
Disc Number: N/A
Art Media: serigraph, silkscreen, gouache, watercolour, lithograph
Jackson Beardy was an Indigenous Canadian artist of Ojibwe and Cree heritage and a member of the Woodlands School of Art. He was born the fifth of thirteen children at Garden Hill Reserve on the shores of Island Lake in Manitoba, Canada. For most of his childhood Jackson lived with his maternal grandmother from whom he learned the history, traditions and stories of his Anishinaabe ancestors.
From the age of seven, Beardy attended a residential school at Portage la Prairie in Southern Manitoba. His knowledge of English was nonexistent requiring him to learn to speak, write and read the language when he started school. Despite the hardships of the residential school system, there Beardy discovered his interest in drawing and painting. Upon graduation, he studied commercial art at the Winnipeg Vocational School from 1963–1964. In 1966, he completed his education at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Manitoba.
Beardy had a distinctive graphic style characterized by flat areas of warm colours and curving ribbons of paint. His works often explored relationships between humans and nature, narrated legends, myths and traditions.
Beardy had his first solo exhibition in 1965 at the University of Winnipeg, which led to others throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In 1967, he went to Montreal as a consultant for the Canadian Indian Pavilion at Expo '67. That same year, he was commissioned to create pieces to commemorate the Canadian centennial and the Manitoba centennial in 1970.
In 1972, Beardy and fellow artists Alex Janvier and Daphne Odjig held a joint exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery called "Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171". The name was a reference to the treaty numbers that the Canadian government gave to the Indigenous groups. The exhibition laid the foundation for a collective that would become known as the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation, also known as the "Indian Group of Seven". Alongside Beardy, Odjig and Janvier, the other group members included Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray, Eddy Cobiness and Joseph Sanchez, and shared the goal of promoting both their work and Indigenous art as a whole within Canada.
Beardy contributed his artwork to the covers of numerous books including “Ojibwe Heritage” by Basil Johnston, “When the Morning Stars Sang Together” by John Morgan, and “Almighty Voice” by Leonard Peterson. In 1976, he was one of the artists to contribute work to the “Contemporary Native Art of Canada: The Woodland Indians” exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.
Beardy spent time teaching art at Brandon University, the University of Manitoba, and in schools across Winnipeg. In the early 1980s, Beardy lived in Ottawa, acting as an art advisor and cultural consultant to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. During that time, he was less able to dedicate time to his art.
In 1984, he returned home to Winnipeg where he began to work on a new series of prints. In mid-November, Beardy suffered a heart attack and passed shortly after. Beardy inspired many students and artists with his work. The year after Beardy’s death, the graphic arts class at R.B. Russell Vocational high school in Winnipeg created a monument to his work, recreating “Peace and Harmony,” a piece he had been working on just before his death, on the exterior walls of the Indian Family Centre on Selkirk Avenue.
- 1965: University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- 1972: Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Treaty Numbers 23, 287, 1171.
- 1976: Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- 1977: Vancouver, BritishColumbia, Canada. Images for a Canadian Heritage.
- 1982: Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (travelling exhibition)
- 1983-1985: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario
- 1993: Jackson Beardy: A Life's Work
- Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, QC
- Department of Justice, Supreme Court, Ottawa, ON
- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Ottawa, ON
- Manitoba Museum of Man and Nature, Winnipeg, MB
- McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON
- 1967: Canadian Centennial Medal
- 1974: Young Achievers Award
- 1982: Canada Council Grant
- 1982: Outstanding Young Manitoban Award
|Title||Last Sold At Auction|
|COMMUNICATION||2015-12 (December 2015)|
|FLIGHT ON WINGS||2018-11 (November 2018)|
|HATCHING BIRDS||2021-09 (September 2021)|
|HATCHING BIRDS II||2022-06 (June 2022)|
|LOONS ON RED||2014-03 (March 2014)|
|UNTITLED (BEAR & SPIRIT)||2016-08 (August 2016)|
|UNTITLED (THUNDERBIRD)||2017-11 (November 2017)|
|“REDEYES”||2017-10 (October 2017)|
Recent Auction Results
Estimate: 100 — 125
Sold: Jun 2022 — Sold For: $84
Estimate: 120 — 150
Sold: Sep 2021 — Sold For: $84
Estimate: 400 — 500
Sold: Nov 2018 — Sold For: $1,200
Estimate: 100 — 125
Sold: Aug 2018 — Sold For: $120
Estimate: 125 — 175
Sold: Mar 2018 — Sold For: $108
Estimate: 1,500 — 2,000
Sold: Nov 2017 — Sold For: $1,320