Norval Morrisseau: Copper Thunderbird

A selection of serigraphs from the Norval Morrisseau: Copper Thunderbird series on view at the Sandbox Centre, Barrie. Photo: Tyler Durbano

Norval Morrisseau: Copper Thunderbird
MacLaren Extension Services

Norval Morrisseau (1931-2007) was a highly influential Indigenous Canadian artist who developed the distinctive painting style known as the Woodland School. Inspired by traditional systems of pictographic communication, Morrisseau’s expressive lines and vibrant colours communicate aspects of his Anishinaabe worldview. This innovative approach, which became Morrisseau’s signature style, was adapted and personalized by subsequent generations of artists.

Morrisseau’s work represents enduring values of Anishinaabe culture including shamanism, the interconnection between all living things and the importance of family. This selection of serigraphs from the MacLaren’s art leasing collection highlights the spiritual symbolism of animals in his oeuvre, as well as personal themes of self and transformation. Images of the artist caught between cultures, vacillating between two worlds, recur in his work. For Morrisseau, artmaking was a lifelong exploration of his own identity.

Also known as Copper Thunderbird, Norval Morrisseau was born on the Sand Point First Nations Reserve near Thunder Bay, Ontario. His work has been collected by numerous institutions including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Royal Ontario Museum, the MacLaren Art Centre and the National Gallery of Canada, where he had a major retrospective in 2006. Morrisseau was named a Member of the Order of Canada and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and to this day remains one of Canada’s best-known artists.

A selection of serigraphs from this series is currently on view at the Sandbox Centre, 24 Maple Ave, 2nd floor, in  Barrie.

For more information on the MacLaren’s Art Rental and Sales Programme, please contact Jess Comella at or 705-720-1044 ext 226.