7: Professional Native Indian Artist Inc.
hardcover - 360 pages
MacKenzie Art Gallery, 2014
One of Canada's most important artist alliances, the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (PNIAI) made history by demanding recognition for its members as professional, contemporary artists at a time when they were routinely excluded from the mainstream art world. In the words of Alex Janvier, they set out to "change the world, the art world, for Natives of Canada." This "Group of Seven," included: Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, and Joseph Sanchez.
During the 1970s the Group stimulated a new way of thinking about the lives and art of First Nations people. Inspired by the legacy of their ancestors, they translated a world of knowledge based on individual experience and cultural heritage. While there styles and techniques vary from artist to artist, a contemporary Indigenous aesthetic is apparent in the vivid colours, dynamic forms, and non-European sensibility that pervades their work.
As the first monograph devoted to the PNIAI, this publication provides access to new and revisited research on the Group's contributions. A wealth of 120 colour images, eight essays, and statements by each of the artists reveal the ground-breaking importance of this Group. As exhibition curator Michelle LaVallee states: "Though their personal aspirations were diverse, the collective vision of the PNIAI made them frontrunners in the development of contemporary Indigenous art."