Alex Janvier: Contemporary artist celebrated in major retrospective starting February 15

Beaverbrook Art GalleryFebruary 12, 20180 Comments

Fredericton, New Brunswick, February 12, 2018 – The Beaverbrook Art Gallery welcomes the touring version of one of the National Gallery of Canada’s most popular winter exhibitions, Alex Janvier. Janvier is one of Canada’s most respected living Indigenous artists. The exhibition opens February 15, 2018, and will run through May 21, 2018.

The public is cordially invited to attend the official opening reception on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 4:00 PM.

The eponymous exhibition Alex Janvier, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, is curated by Greg Hill, the Gallery’s Audain Senior Curator of Indigenous Art and features nearly 100 works of art from public and private collections from across Canada, including both a selection of well-known masterpieces from the artist’s seven-decade-long career, along with paintings that are on tour for the very first time.

“The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is devoted to celebrating the visual arts, both in sharing the best our collection has to offer, and in presenting the best the world has to share,” said Beaverbrook Art Gallery Director/CEO Tom Smart. “This exhibition showcases a tremendous selection of work by this preeminent Indigenous artist. I invite all New Brunswickers to join us in viewing and celebrating his artistic vision.”

Alex Janvier’s artistic universe is a rich visual language marked by colour, symbols and calligraphic features. The artist’s unique paintings combine Denesuline iconography with Western art styles and techniques. Exploring the geocultural landscape of Janvier’s northern Alberta home, his works reference Indigenous culture and history, including his own experience of the effects of colonization and residential schools, within a personal aesthetic that is universal in its appeal.

Born of Denesuline and Saulteaux descent, Janvier has paved the way for many Aboriginal artists by putting forward beliefs, aesthetics and Indigenous issues. Having lived most of his life on the traditional Denesuline territory of the Cold Lake First Nation, he attaches great importance to his native roots and to the idea of a close relationship with particular places and physical landmarks.

Alex Janvier began painting while a pupil at the Blue Quills Indian Residential School near St. Paul, Alberta. He received formal art training from the Alberta Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) where he graduated, with honours, in 1960.

“The Alex Janvier exhibition recounts the story of a life devoted to art and the re-empowerment of Indigenous cultures,” said NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer. “Alex Janvier is among the most important figures in the development of modern Indigenous art in Canada and the National Gallery has long envisioned a major solo exhibition dedicated to him.”

About the exhibition

Organized chronologically, with some rooms devoted to thematic groupings, the exhibition presents 95 paintings and drawings at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, including an installation of 34 circular paintings of varied sizes and styles created since the 1970s.The works featured in the exhibition are drawn from public and private collections across Canada, including five from the National Gallery of Canada’s national collection.

Known for his brightly coloured murals with their Dene iconography and forms that evoke land, sky, galaxies, microscopic life and calligraphic lines, Alex Janvier has created public art that can be admired in 25 locations across Canada. His largest mural – Morning Star–Gambeh Then’ –, painted on a domed ceiling in the Canadian Museum of History in 1993, has been captured on video and is projected in the exhibition. 

The Alex Janvier exhibition also features a room that pays homage to the so-called Indian Group of Seven, officially known as Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., cofounded by Janvier in 1973 to heighten the profile of Indigenous artists. This section of the exhibition comprises paintings that Janvier created in 2011 in tribute to artists Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau, Carl Ray, Bill Reid, and Joseph M. Sanchez.

More information about the artist and the exhibition can be found at Information about the exhibition’s presentation at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and exhibition programming there can be found at


Organized by the National Gallery of Canada

About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and International works of art. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery “enriches life through art”. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.” Information about the Gallery and its activities can be found at Follow the Beaverbrook Art Gallery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

About the National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

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The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.

Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communications
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039

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