Accelerating Culture

Alex Janvier: The 83 Year Old Painter from Alberta


As a master painter, Alex Janvier has made his mark on this world. Known for his unique style of merging Dene iconography with Western abstract art, the Albertan has created a lifetime’s worth of work.

His art connects with people at a global scale. It is influential and relevant.

Arranged by the National Gallery in Ottawa, an exhibition of Janvier’s visual experience can presently be seen at the Glenbow Museum, from now until September 9th.

Jenny Fisher, the museum’s head of Communications, explains how Janvier is still relevant in today’s society with his exhibition.

He’s one of Canada’s most famous, living artists and his work is known to resonate nationally,” shares Fisher.

It is one of those art exhibitions that can break barriers and make a difference in the world.

Adversity to Artist

Uprooted from his home and sent to a residential school at a young age, Janvier used art as a way to express himself. He studied at ACAD and without delay, he began his journey as a painter.

The artist received a formal education in Western arts and with his own cultural identity, used it to create something different.

From a distance, his work appears to be abstract, but up close, it holds hidden features waiting to surprise you.

Janvier has synthesized these two cultures and has created something entirely new,” Fisher explained.

He uses abstraction and emotion to express ideas and values about things hat are important to him.

Throughout his life, Janvier fought for Indigenous rights and used his artwork as his weapon and voice to advocate his activism.

Quotes like: “It’s time the Indians became the landlords again” evoke powerful emotions.

Janvier and his work speak a truth that everyone needs to hear.

Voices like Alex Janvier’s are absolutely crucial,” said Fisher.

From large scale paintings of vibrant watercolours, to small sketches, each piece is impactful in its own way.

I’d like to paint until the day I can’t paint anymore.

Janvier’s Impact

Janvier has been influencing artists and viewers for 65 years. During times of social injustice, art can play a large factor in breaking barriers.

His work embodies political perspectives holding a voice that everyone can take in and learn from. He brings forth a new outlook on the world, which can be experiences at the exhibit.

“Art transcends boundaries. Whatever you take from it, I hope it is an enrichment of your life,” Fisher concluded.

Also, no phones allowed. So imagine having to actually be present to take in the wonder of his work.



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