By Patricia Lightfoot
I was impressed and moved by the exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada of the works of Alex Janvier, who is of Dene Suline and Saulteaux descent. Whether abstract or figurative, many of his paintings are a protest against the ill-treatment of indigenous people and the lack of respect in which they have been held, and the related degradation of the Canadian landscape. Blood Tears is a painting of imagery related to the residential school Janvier was forced to attend for 10 years, whereas on the reverse side of the painting, he lists the resulting losses that he and so many other children were forced to endure. Oil Patch Heart Beat is a circular abstract painting, in which blue is the predominant colour, against which drops of red, leading to a little heart, stand out. The piece glows, reminiscent of the rose windows of medieval cathedrals. Janvier creates beauty in the expression of loss.
Photo credit: Thompson River University