Alex Janvier is one of the founding members of the Indian Group of Seven, a collection of aboriginal artists that broke new ground in the world of art when it was founded in 1973. Fellow artists included Norval Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig.
Alex was born in 1935 on the Le Goff reserve, part of the Cold Lake First Nation in Northern Alberta. A Dene Suline, Alex attended the Blue Quills residential school and found that art class was his sole refuge from the daily torments and abuse. Ironically it was a French priest, the principal of the school, who recognised Alex’s talent and encouraged him to pursue art. He attended the Calgary School of Art after the local Indian denied him the right to attend the Ontario School of Art. As part of Expo 67 he brought together a group of First Nations artists for the Indians of Canada pavilion.
He currently runs the Janvier Art Gallery in Cold Lake and next year will be honoured with an exhibition of his work at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. Catherine Clark spoke to Alex Janvier in Cold Lake, Alberta.
Born into political life in Ottawa, Catherine Clark is no stranger to being in the public eye. As founding host of CPAC’s popular weekly television show Beyond Politics, Catherine interviews Members of Parliament, Premiers and people of influence to reveal the personal, human side of public life. Catherine is also a sought-after public speaker and emcee, and writes the “Giving Back” column for Ottawa at Home Magazine, profiling people who are improving the lives of their fellow citizens.