Daphne Odjig

Artist: Daphne Odjig

About the Artist: Lots of her work has a beautiful rhythm to it and the lines flow in a way that makes the artwork come alive. Each series the artist had created has a different inspiration behind it and shows her versatility but the theme of defiance stood out to me throughout her speaking about her work. Other inspirations were the land of the forest in British Columbia, environmental concerns (the destruction of Mother Earth), family, and Daphne’s life.

Birth Place: Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve, Manitoulin Island, ON; died in Kelowna, BC

Life Dates: September 11, 1919-October 1, 2016

Mediums: pen and ink drawings, oil paintings

Style: Odjig’s styles and media varied widely with her subject matter. She created narrative paintings, expressive explorations of her history, and colour studies of the British Columbia. As she advanced throughout her career her paintings became more graphic by incorporating the calligraphic lines her stone carver grandfather taught her.

Training: At age thirteen, Odjig was forced to withdraw from school after contracting rheumatic fever. Her education was taken over by her grandfather who instructed her in drawing, carving and the oral traditions of her family. She spent her weekends teaching herself to paint by studying the masters at the Royal Ontario Museum and (now the Art Gallery of Ontario.


Nanabush Giving the Racoon its Colours, 1969. Acrylic and graphite on ivory wove paper, 61.4 x 76.4 cm. Collection National Gallery of Canada

Genocide No. 1, 1971. Acrylic on board, 61 x 76 cm. Collection National Gallery of Canada.

Resources used:


Daphne Odjig PowerPoint

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