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Renowned artist Alex Janvier, part of Indian Group of Seven, dies at age 89

Artist Alex Janvier is pictured at his gallery on the Cold Lake First Nations, Alta., on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017. The renowned Indigenous artist died at the age of 89.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

EDMONTON — Renowned artist Alex Janvier has died at the age of 89.

Officials at the Assembly of First Nations annual general meeting announced his death and held a moment of silence on Wednesday.

Janvier, who was from Cold Lake First Nations in Alberta, is considered one of Canada's greatest painters. His work is widely collected and hangs in private homes and public galleries across the country and around the world.

"Painting says it all for me," Janvier said in a statement in 2012.

"It is the Redman talk in colour, in North America's language. Our Creator's voice in colour."

Janvier was a groundbreaking Indigenous artist.

In 1973, with other First Nations artists Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig and Jackson Beardy, he helped found the so-called Indian Group of Seven — more formally known as Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. — to bring their work to the mainstream.

"We had to open a lot of doors," Janvier recalled. A show in a Montreal gallery was the group's first, and others followed.

"We finally got that rubber stamp and other gallery owners started to open their doors."

Since then, Janvier's work has been shown in galleries across Canada, as well as in Sweden, Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles.

It hangs in the National Gallery and the Royal Alberta Museum, as well as schools, commercial offices, municipal buildings and band offices from coast to coast.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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