I was so captivated by the modern and minimal imagery from this Canadian Indigenous artist. After researching more about the artist, I will now be searching and gathering more of Jackson Beardy's work.
- Print: 9" x 6"
- Framed in Driftwood Frame at 13"w x 10"h x .5"d
Jackson Beardy (July 24, 1944 – December 7, 1984) was an Indigenous Anishinaabe artist born in Canada. His works are characterized by scenes from Ojibwe and Cree oral traditions and many focus on the relationship between humans and nature. He belonged to the Woodland School of Art and was a prominent member of the Indian Group of Seven. His work has contributed to the recognition of Indigenous contemporary art within Canada.
Jackson Beardy was born July 24, 1944. He was the son of John Beardy and Dinah Monias and fifth of 13 children. Beardy's father supported the family as a trapper, hunter, pedlar, gold miner, fisherman and fish filleter. The Beardys lived in a single-roomed log cabin but despite the lack of material goods, John Beardy provided the necessities and Beardy appears to have had a happy childhood. He lived with his grandmother, from whom he learned the oral traditions and legends of his Anishinaabe ancestors, for most of his childhood.[
Beardy attended residential school at Portage la Prairie in Southern Manitoba at the age of seven. Here, he was separated from his sister and could not communicate with her during the school years. Before attending the school, he did not speak English. Beardy quickly distanced himself from the forced nature of education that all Indigenous peoples in that area underwent at the residential schools, and it was from these lessons that he began to assert his Indigenous culture. Beardy's reaction to the mental de-structuring process at the school was to become the school wit. It was at the residential school that he learned how to draw and paint. A kind school teacher, Mary Morris, encouraged Beardy's art and stayed in touch with Beardy after he left the school. When drawing at the school, he was not permitted to visually express the Anishinaabe oral narratives.
At the age of 16, the authorities allowed the students to leave the school, however the principal of the residential school promised Beardy an art education if he stayed two more years to gain his high school certificate. Beardy then chose to stay another two years. At the age of 18, Beardy approached the principal to ask for the promised art education, but quickly learned that the principal would not allow him the art education after all. The principal did not believe that being an artist would make Beardy a "decent" citizen. Instead, he offered Beardy a course in commercial art, since this would be more economically sustainable. When learning this, young Beardy angrily told him, that he would show him that he is capable of becoming an artist.
During his last year in high school, his grades began to fall and Beardy turned to alcoholism. After failing high school, Beardy still wished to pursue an art education; he completed the failed courses and was accepted into a course on commercial art. He completed these courses at Technical Vocational High School and graduated in 1964. Subsequently, Beardy completed his education at the School of Art at the University of Manitoba in 1966.