Carl Ray
Woodland Indian Art

Thunderbird in Human Form
Thunderbird in Human Form, 1972
acrylic on canvas, 30" × 24"
Thunderbird
Thunderbird, 1972
acrylic on paper, 12¾" × 15½"
Fish
Fish, 1976
acrylic on paper, 23" × 31"
Fox
Fox
acrylic on paper, 25" × 21"
Untitled Spirit
Untitled (Spirit), 1972
mixed media on paper, 14" x 20"
Mother Earth
Mother Earth
acrylic on canvas, 30" x 24"
Mother Bird
Mother Bird, 1976
ink on paper, 28" x 36"

Slideshow

Carl Ray – Artist Biography

Carl Ray, a self-taught artist, was born in 1943 on the Sandy Lake First Nation reserve in Northern Ontario and was known in his Cree community as Tall Straight Poplar (he was 6’4” tall). Ray left his residential school at 15, following the death of his father. Upon his departure from school, he hunted and trapped, however this traditional way of life did not suit him and he had to quit.

Although he had always shown a proficiency in art, he was hesitant to pursue a career in visual art due to the taboo of painting the sacred stories and beliefs of his people. His reluctance was further strengthened by the reprimands he received from his elders anytime he picked up brush of paint. In the mid 1960s, Norval Morrisseau had successfully broken the taboos that had previously restricted Ray from pursuing his artistic abilities. Ray was now able to confidently follow his passions and created outstanding images of wildlife, northern scenic landscapes and “legend paintings”. He would later apprentice under Morrisseau.

Ray would later teach art at numerous schools in northern communities, including Kirkland Lake, Timmins, Wawa, Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, North Bay, Bracebridge, and Oshawa. He also completed many large murals and by the mid 1970s, as a member of the Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporation (commonly known as the Indian Group of Seven), Ray enjoyed the acclaim and success of the group and has his works collected by high profile art collectors and public institutions like the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Carl Ray died in 1978 from a stab wound he sustained during a fight in Sioux Lookout.

Fellow artist Alex Janvier said of Ray: “Carl Ray was the guy who could laugh, make fun of you, throw a joke on you and he’d laugh his head off"
- The Life and Work of the Woodland Artists - Interview with Alex Janvier, 2003.

Daphne OdjigDaphne Odjig, Canadian Indigenous Artist and Icon Dies at 97. Click here for more details.

Odjig is frequently referred to as the "Grandmother of Indigenous Art." She has been the recipient of many awards, honours and recognitions for her works, to name a few: The Order of Canada, the Governor General's Award, and eight Honorary Doctorates. Her works have been shown in the National Gallery of Canada, The McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the Art Gallery of Ontario.


She established the first native-run fine art print house in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1971. Known as 'Odjig Indian Prints,' this print house was so successful that it evolved into an Indigenous gallery space in 1974, called the New Warehouse Gallery, run by Odjig and her husband, Chester Beavon. She was also a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. This artistic group's purpose was to promote Contemporary Indigenous art and artists.

Alex JanvierAlex Janvier's major retrospective, "Alex Janvier: Modern Indigenous Master" is now on display at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

Alex Janvier is one of Canada's most acclaimed contemporary Indigenous artists. His career of sixty-five years has yielded thousands of paintings, and more than twenty-five murals and public commissions. This retrospective of his artwork is on display from 25 November 2016 to 17 April 2017.

(Photo credit: Kim Griffiths) Click here for more details.