New Fish Spirits Come

About this object

History of use

The contemporary 'woodland art tradition', of which John Laford is a part, traces its roots to the ancient rock art of the Canadian Sheild and to the shamanistic tradition of bark scroll work. Cree and Ojibwa mythology and shamanistic imagery is frequently depicted in these works. This painting depicts the artist's belief that new fish species, introduced by the government's enhancement program, bring with them their own guardian spirits.

Cultural context

contemporary art; spirit painting; legend painting

Physical description

Painting depicting a series of mainly interconnected figures, all outlined and segmented with black lines and composed of areas of solid colour. Stylized profile figure on right, facing left with black face, extending black tongue and round orange eye. Body has dark blue, blue and orange sections with orange hair , a blue section above and two green-blue sections behind the head. Three fish-like figures to left, each with a differently coloured body, and with red-brown tails and orange eyes. A fourth creature surmounts the humanoid figure. Near the bottom are a brown, a red-brown and a green-blue circle, each with a black band across the centre. Made in the Anishnaabe style.