September 24, 2016 (Gatineau, QC) – Indigenous artist Maxine Noel was honoured yesterday evening by the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) at a private reception at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. Indigenous leaders and federal cabinet ministers came together this evening to honour Noel’s artistry and contributions to raising public awareness of the Canadian crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
Her artwork Not Forgotten, which she gifted to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, will be loaned to the Canadian Museum of History for 5 years to be on public display. The painting will be presented in the Canadian History Hall, where it will help to tell the story of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It is an art piece that includes symbolic images honouring murdered and missing Indigenous women from each of the four traditional directions – East, West, South, North.
Algonquin Elder Claudette Commanda, along with President Dawn Lavell-Harvard, Mark O’Neill, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of History, and Dr. Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, extended their deepest gratitude and praise to the artist for her efforts in honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
“Every year the Canadian Museum of History welcomes millions of Canadians who come to learn about this land’s history, art, and cultures; as of today, those millions will be graced with the gift of Maxine Noel’s artwork Not Forgotten, an iconic piece that commemorates our missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Thank you, Maxine, for helping to bridge the information gap regarding the National crisis of our missing and murdered women through your beautiful artistry,” said President Lavell-Harvard.
A survivor of an Indian Residential school and a strong Indigenous woman, Maxine Noel was born in 1946 to Santee Oglala Sioux parents on the Birdtail Reserve in Manitoba. She was given the Sioux name “Ioyan Mani”, meaning “walk beyond”, which is the signature she uses on her artwork.
A self-taught artist, she first worked as a legal secretary in Edmonton and Toronto before devoting herself to her art full-time in 1979.
Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across Canada, including in the collections of the Canadian Museum of History, the University of Western Ontario, the Canadian Native Arts Foundation in Toronto and the Whetung Ojibwa Centre.
She has lectured and served on panels at the Saskatchewan School of Fine Arts, the University of Western Ontario and the native program at the Ontario College of Art.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) is founded on the collective goal to enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations and Métis women within First Nation, Métis and Canadian societies. As a national organization representing Aboriginal women since 1974, NWAC’s mandate is to achieve equality for all Aboriginal women in Canada.
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