Syllabic Translator

i u a pi pu pa ti tu ta ki ku ka gi gu ga mi mu ma ni nu na si su sa li lu la ji ju ja vi vu va ri ru ra qi qu qa ngi ngu nga lhi lhu lha

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Norval H. Morrisseau, R.C.A., ᐅᓵᐚᐱᐦᑯᐱᓀᐦᓯ



acrylic on canvas, signed in syllabics, Surface dust. Overall very good condition.

Please contact the specialist for further condition information.

69 x 37 in — 175.3 x 94 cm

Private collection, Calgary, AB

This “silent eye” is here with us as a witness. Painted circa 1974, it was a time of rising Indigenous activism in response to systematic oppression of the Indigenous people of Canada. In 1974 the Native People’s Caravan travelled from Vancouver to Parliament Hill to raise awareness about the poor living conditions and endemic discrimination experienced by the Indigenous people in Canada, and also as means to unite Indigenous peoples across Canada. Also in 1974, Ojibwa Warriors Society and allies assembled in Anicinabe Park (Kenora, ON) to protest for equality.

Morrisseau’s Silent Eye is the witness to all that had gone on previously and to what was occurring then. This work embodies the power of First Nations spirituality and beliefs, and their perseverance despite adversity. Their enduring power is represented here by Morrisseau’s transformational figure, who synthesises attributes of the human and animal (natural) world. The seven “eyes” can be seen as symbols of the Seven Generations, referring to the prophecy among First Nations called “the seventh generation,” which speaks of a time thought to be seven generations after first contact with Europeans, when Indigenous youth and allies from all races come together to enact a new age of healing and rebirth for Indigenous people and Turtle Island.

Virginia MacDonnell Eichhorn is an art historian, curator and writer who has been working within the international visual arts world for over 30 years. A contributor to numerous arts journals and catalogue essayist, her curatorial practice encompasses environmental and ecological art, feminism, material culture, presentation within non-traditional environments, and Indigenous art.

Estimate: $12,000—16,000

Auction Results

Auction Date Auction House Lot # Low Est High Est Sold Price
2022-06-09 Waddington's 47 12,000 16,000 12,000.00

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