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Yves Lambert

Yves Lambert, CM, singer, musician (born 15 September 1956 in Joliette, QC). Yves Lambert rose to fame in Quebec as a founding member of La Bottine souriante. The folk music group had three platinum albums and four gold albums in Canada and won multiple Juno Awards and Félix Awards. Lambert has been credited with popularizing traditional Québécois folk music while also reinventing it. His musical style blends folk music with traditional Quebec, Acadian, Celtic and country music styles. He has been described as a pillar of Quebec’s living heritage. Lambert was named Traditional Singer of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards and has twice won the Conseil québécois de la musique (Québec Music Council) Opus Award. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.


Charles Edenshaw (Tahayren)

​Charles (Charlie) Edenshaw (Haida name, Tahayren), Haida chief and master artist (born 1839 in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii, BC; died 10 September 1920 in Masset, Haida Gwaii, BC). Edenshaw was among the first professional Haida artists. He was noted for his flawless execution of dynamic flowing forms in an otherwise strict and disciplined art tradition. Many of Edenshaw’s descendants also became artists, including his daughter Florence Davidson, his grandson Claude Davidson, his great-grandsons Reggie and Robert Davidson and his great-great nephew Bill Reid.


Vivine Scarlett

Vivine Scarlett, dancer, choreographer, administrator (born in London, United Kingdom). Vivine Scarlett is the founder, executive director and curator of dance Immersion, a Toronto-based organization that produces, presents and supports dancing of the African diaspora. She is also an award-winning choreographer and a renowned instructor. Scarlett has received a K.M. Hunter Artist Award for dance from the Ontario Arts Foundation, the Muriel Sherrin Award from the Toronto Arts Foundation and a Lifetime Achievement Award from Dance Ontario.


Robin Poitras

Robin Poitras, CM, dancer, teacher, choreographer, administrator (born 1958 in Regina, SK). Robin Poitras is the co-founder and artistic and managing director of Regina-based New Dance Horizons. It is one of Canada’s most successful and groundbreaking contemporary dance organizations. It has played a crucial role in the development of contemporary dance in Saskatchewan since the mid-1980s. Poitras has received a YWCA Women of Distinction Award for the Arts, as well as lifetime achievement awards from the Regina Mayor’s Arts and Business Awards and the Saskatchewan Arts Board. She was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2021.


Freda Diesing

Freda Diesing, Haida artist (born 2 June 1925 in Prince Rupert, BC; died there 3 December 2002). Diesing was best known for her contributions to reviving traditional Haida art forms, including wood carving, mask carving and totem carving. She was one of the few women carvers who mastered the medium, and was partly responsible for bringing the style to an international audience. Diesing worked to ensure the style and tradition of Haida art was passed on to new generations. (See also Northwest Coast Indigenous Art and Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)


Norval Morrisseau

Norval Morrisseau (called Miskwaabik Animiiki in Anishinaabemowin, meaning “Copper Thunderbird”), CM, artist (born 14 March 1931 or 1932 in Northern Ontario; died 4 December 2007 in Toronto, ON). Morrisseau was a self-taught artist of Ojibwe ancestry. He is best known for originating the Woodland School style in contemporary Indigenous art. His deep spirituality and cultural connections guided his career, which spanned five decades. Morrisseau is considered a trailblazer for contemporary Indigenous artists across Canada.


Carl Ray

Carl Ray, Cree artist, illustrator, editor and art teacher (born January 1943 in Sandy Lake, ON; died 26 September 1978 in Sioux Lookout, ON). Ray was known for his innovative paintings in the Woodlands style and was a founding member of the Indian Group of Seven. Ray’s work has influenced Indigenous art in Canada and can be found in the collections of various galleries and museums across the country.


Joseph Sánchez

Joseph Marcus Sánchez, artist, curator (born 24 February 1948 in Trinidad, Colorado, United States). In 1970, Joseph Sánchez travelled to Canada, settling in Richer, Manitoba. He became a founding member of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., known widely as the Indian Group of Seven. Sánchez remained in Canada until 1975-76, leaving a lasting impact on the recognition and exposure of First Nations art and artists. Sánchez went on to become a community elder and political activist. He has worked as a museum director and curator for major galleries and exhibitions. His artwork has been exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States and Europe, and he has provided essays for a number of exhibition catalogues.


Eddy Cobiness

Eddy “Doc” Cobiness, Ojibwe (Anishinaabe) artist (born 17 July 1933 in Warroad, Minnesota, United States; died 1 January 1996 in Winnipeg, MB). He was a founding and eminent member of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., known widely as the Indian Group of Seven. Cobiness’s artwork was featured in many prominent collections, including those of Queen Elizabeth II, former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien and Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston. Influenced by Pablo Picasso, Cobiness worked in many mediums, including ink, watercolour, oil and acrylic, and his stylized brush strokes were referred to as “flowing.” Cobiness’s artwork often depicted animals and the natural world.


Jackson Beardy

Jackson Beardy (also known as Quincy Pickering Jackson Beardy), Oji-Cree artist (born 24 July 1944 in Island Lake, MB; died 8 December 1984 in Winnipeg, MB). Beardy was part of the Woodlands School of Indigenous art, and in 1973 he became part of a group of Indigenous artists popularly known as the Indian Group of Seven. His stylized artworks — sometimes painted on canvas, birch bark or beaver skins — were often concerned with the interdependence of humans and nature. They also tended to depict figures from Ojibwe and Cree oral traditions. From the late 1960s to his death in the early 1980s, Beardy promoted Indigenous art as a valid category of contemporary art. His influence as a Woodland artist has contributed to the development of contemporary Indigenous art in Canada.


Alex Janvier

Alex Simeon Janvier, CM, painter (born 28 Feb 1935 on Le Goff reserve, Cold Lake First Nations, near Bonnyville, AB). Recipient of the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts, and a Member of the Order of Canada, Alex Janvier is often referred to as the first Indigenous modernist artist in Canada. Janvier is also one of the founding members of Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., also known as the Indian Group of Seven. His work is in major museum collections throughout Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of History, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and Winnipeg Art Gallery. (See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada.)


Fred Herzog

Ulrich “Fred” Herzog, photographer, teacher (born 21 September 1930 in Bad Friedrichshall, Germany; died 9 September 2019 in Vancouver, BC). Fred Herzog was a professional medical photographer and a photography instructor at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. He is best known for his colour photographs of Vancouver street scenes, which documented working-class neighbourhoods and the downtown before they were transformed. His use of colour film was unusual for a fine arts photographer, and his work was largely overlooked for years. His first solo show — at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2007, when he was 76 — received widespread acclaim.


Christi Belcourt

Christi Belcourt, Métis visual artist, activist, author (born 24 September 1966, in Scarborough, ON). Though born in Ontario, Belcourt is from the Métis community manitow sâkahikan (Lac Ste Anne), Alberta. The vibrant colours and themes of her art reflect the interconnectedness of nature and human beings. Her art speaks to the struggle for Indigenous identity and sovereignty. Belcourt’s activism focuses on Indigenous issues related to justice, education and meaningful reconciliation. ( See also Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada and Important Indigenous Artists in Canada.)


Corrine Hunt

Corrine Hunt, Kwakwaka'wakw/Tlingit artist (born in 1959 in Alert Bay, BC). Hunt is a respected artist who has created hand-crafted jewelry, accessories, art installations and furniture. In 2010, she co-designed the Vancouver Winter Olympic medals. Hunt is a strong and vocal supporter of the arts. In addition to her own work, she mentors other artists and strives to promote the traditional art of Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples. Her unique designs and art installations showcase her personal history as well as her cultural heritage.


Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Morely Kirkland, photographer (born 16 August 1934 in Toronto, ON; died 2 October 2022 in Los Angeles, California). Photographer Douglas Kirkland was best known for his highly stylized and artistic portraits of Hollywood celebrities. His best-known work was a series of photographs he took of Marilyn Monroe in 1961. He was also well known for his behind-the-scenes photographs from many film productions. The first still photographer to be made a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, Kirkland authored several books and received numerous awards.


Malak Karsh

Armenian-Canadian photographer Malak Karsh was best known for his photographs of Canada, and of the Ottawa region in particular. His 1963 photograph of a tugboat bringing logs up the Ottawa River, with the Library of Parliament in the background, was featured on the reverse of the $1 banknote first issued in 1974. Karsh amassed perhaps the most comprehensive visual record of Canada in existence. He also founded the Ottawa Tulip Festival and was the younger brother of famed photographer Yousuf Karsh.


Editorial: Black Women in the Arts

The following article is part of an exhibit. Past exhibits are not updated.

Driven to overcome histories of prejudice and marginalization, as women and as people of African descent, Black women are among Canada’s most innovative artists. With their fingers on the pulse of this multi-tasking, multi-disciplinary, 21st-century culture, the 15 dynamic artists featured in this exhibit — a mix of poets, playwrights, filmmakers, musicians and visual artists — refuse to be limited to one medium or style.

Award-winning poet Dionne Brand is also a novelist, filmmaker and influential professor, while Lillian Allen thrives as a dub poet, declaiming her verses to reggae accompaniment. trey anthony is a comedian as well as a ground-breaking playwright and screenwriter. All of these women and the many others below are also, in one way or another, passionate activists and committed advocates who are deeply involved in their communities.


Fred Bruemmer

Friedrich Karl von Bruemmer, CM, RCA, photographer, writer, researcher (born 26 June 1929 in Riga, Latvia; died 17 December 2013 in Montreal, QC). Latvian Canadian wildlife photographer Fred Bruemmer spent much of his professional career in the Arctic. He was famous for photographing the flora and fauna of the North and the lifestyle of the Inuit. Bruemmer was a prolific writer and researcher who wrote more than 1,000 articles and 27 books. His extensive work in the circumpolar world reached an international audience. He was described in a 1980 Maclean’s article as “one of the least-known world-famous men in Canada.” He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1983.


Lynne Cohen

Lynne Cohen, photographer, artist, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, teacher (born 3 July 1944 in Racine, Wisconsin; died 12 May 2014 in Montreal, QC). Award-winning photographer Lynne Cohen was perhaps best known for winning the inaugural $50,000 Scotiabank Photography Award in 2011. She also won the Canada Council for the Arts’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in 1991 and a Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts in 2005. Her work focuses on everyday interior spaces and how changes in lighting and framing alter how the viewer perceives these environments. She was also a professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa from 1974 to 2005.