Selwyn Dewdney on Norval Morrisseau – 1963

A unique photo from the Norval Morrisseau Memorial,”Gathering of the People”,
held at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto on Saturday, December 8, 2007

In his tortured efforts to reconcile the skepticism of a superior intelligence with the fantasies of his people’s folklore, to be a leader of his people without raising himself above the humblest of them, to give proudly from the richness of his heritage and yet open his mind to the truths that lie buried in the bewildering complexities of the dominant culture, Morrisseau is as contemporary as space travel or anti-matter. I have seen him at times torn apart and made desperate with doubt. I have also seen him serene in an upsurge of power that issues from each fresh resolution of his inner agonies.

This is no ordinary man. And I predict, whatever label we may finally bestow on his work, he will continue to produce extraordinary paintings.

Selwyn Dewdney
Canadian Art Magazine,1963