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London Gallery Shares Manitoulin Indigenous Painter’s ‘Unique Vision’

Paintings by an indigenous artist from Manitoulin Island are the focus of a new London gallery exhibition.

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Paintings by an indigenous artist from Manitoulin Island are the focus of a new London gallery exhibition.

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The works of the late Angus Trudeau are on display at the Michael Gibson Gallery until July 30.

Jennie Kraehling, the gallery’s associate director, said she was recently approached by a family who knew the artist and used to buy his “idiosyncratic and cheerful paintings” and provide him with art supplies to enable him to paint.

“With the recent buzz surrounding the work of Maud Lewis, we are surprised that Angus Trudeau’s paintings have not captured the attention of a wider audience,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons we held our exhibit in July – to highlight Trudeau’s unique vision and to tell the story of his past life on Manitoulin Island.

Trudeau, who died in 1984, was a self-taught Anishinaabe artist who painted the ferries, lake freighters, logging camps and small community villages in and around Manitoulin. He worked as a pulpwood cutter in lumber camps and as a cook aboard Lake Huron trading vessels.

Kraehling said Trudeau painted from memory, newspaper clippings, photos and postcards, documenting his past experiences and the world he grew up and lived in, using a variety of materials (felt, oil paint , acrylic) and methods (collage, tracing).

“He had a keen eye for decoration and recreated, with astonishing precision, intricate details of the mechanics of disused lake boats,” Kraehling said.

“Using flamboyant colors and delightful patterns of waves and clouds, Trudeau has produced paintings that are lively and extraordinarily personal. He was an important historian and chronicler of island life.

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His paintings were first exhibited in a group exhibition in 1973 at Isaacs Gallery in Toronto, followed by solo exhibitions in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982. His work has also been shown at the National Arts Center in Ottawa in 1981, at the Koffler Gallery in Toronto in 1983 and at the US

His paintings and models are in the public gallery collections of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Art Gallery of Windsor.

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IF YOU ARE GOING TO

What: An exhibition of works by Indigenous artist Angus Trudeau.

When: Until July 30.

Where: Michael Gibson Gallery, 157 Carling Street.