April 21, 2015, KLEINBURG ON — The McMichael Canadian Art Collection announces its major summer exhibition, 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. which will open on May 9, 2015. Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and curated by Michelle LaVallee, MacKenzie’s Associate Curator, this exhibition is an unparalleled opportunity to engage with one of Canada’s most important early artist alliances.

Gathering informally in the early 1970s, Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Jackson Beardy, Eddy Cobiness, Alex Janvier, Carl Ray, and Joseph Sanchez formed this influential and historical group and officially incorporated as the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. (PNIAI) in February 1974. This “Group of Seven” was a groundbreaking cultural and political entity that self-organized to demand recognition as professional, contemporary artists. They challenged old constructs, and stimulated a new way of thinking about contemporary First Nations people, their lives, and art.

The exhibition draws on both private and public art collections to bring together close to 100 works including recently uncovered masterworks of the period that have not been accessible to the public for many years. The exhibition focuses exclusively on that crucial decade during which the seven artists were active as a group, exemplifying the range and diversity of work being produced by the PNIAI in the 1970s. The exhibition considers their collective artistic impact, as well as the distinctive styles and experimentation of the individual artists.

This is one of the key histories that signaled a new course for the exhibition and reception of contemporary Indigenous art. The visual impact of the works in this exhibition will reacquaint visitors with the excitement and newness of the images and styles which these seven artists produced.

7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. will be on display at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection from May 9 to September 7, 2015. It is organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and has been made possible through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage.



You are invited to a Media Preview for the remarkable exhibition, 7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. and meet artists Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez, and exhibition curator Michelle LaVallee.



Friday, May 8, 2015

11 am to 1 pm

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

10365 Islington Ave. (north of Major Mackenzie Dr.)

Kleinburg, ON L0J 1C0



Connie Febbraro

905.893.1121 ext. 2528


Wendy Campbell

905.893.1121 ext. 2201


Images, top left to right: Daphne Odjig, Thunderbird of Courage, 1977, acrylic on canvas, 61 x 50.8 cm, private collection, © Daphne Odjig. Photo credit: Don Hall

Alex Janvier, The Four Seasons of ’76, 1977, acrylic on masonite, 91.4 x 81.3 cm, Courtesy of Janvier Gallery, © Alex Janvier. Photo credit: Don Hall

Jackson Beardy, Nanabush Catches the Eagle, 1972, acrylic on board, 81.2 x 101.6 cm, Ermi Tano Collection, © Estate of Jackson Beardy. Photo credit: Don Hall

Norval Morrisseau, Artist’s Wife and Daughter, 1975, acrylic on hardboard, 101.6 x 81.3 cm, Purchase 1975, McMichael Canadian Art Collection


Bottom, left to right: Carl Ray, Medicine Bear, 1977, acrylic on canvas, 73.7 x 99.1 cm, Collection of Sunita D. Doobay, © Estate of Carl Ray. Photo credit: Don Hall

Eddy Cobiness, Watering the Horse, 1974, pen and ink, 57 x 71.5 cm, Courtesy of Woodland Cultural Centre, © Estate of Eddy Cobiness. Photo credit: Don Hall

Joseph Sanchez, Family Portrait, 1974, coloured pencil and ink on paperboard, 57.8 x 73.1 cm, Courtesy of Ann Sanchez, © Joseph Sanchez. Photo credit: Don Hall




Speaker Series: Breaking Barriers

Speakers: Alex Janvier, Joseph Sanchez, Michelle LaVallee

Saturday, May 9, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm


This event offers a unique opportunity to hear the experiences of Alex Janvier and Joseph Sanchez, two artists who were part of the seven-member, groundbreaking group Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. This self-organized group effectively demanded the recognition of Aboriginal artists as professional, contemporary artists. The conversation, led by curator Michelle LaVallee, will evolve around the collective artistic impact of the group, as well as the distinctive style and experimentation of individual artists.


Fee: $29 general public; $24 McMichael members; $15 for students with valid ID. Fee includes gallery admission ($18 value).

Registration required. Call 905.893.1121 ext. 2209, email or visit for more information.

About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of over 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more information:


For further information, contact:

Connie Febbraro

Associate Director, Marketing & Promotions

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2528

Wendy Campbell

Manager, Online Presence

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2201