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Norval Morrisseau (19322007), Ojibway shaman-artist, drew his first sketches at age six in the sand on the shores of Lake Nipigon. By the end of his tumultuous life, the prolific self-taught artist was sought by collectors and imitated by forgers. Critics, art historians and curators alike consider him one of the most innovative artists of the twentieth century. Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird is an innovative and rich biography of this charismatic and troubled figure. Drawing upon years of extensive research, including interviews with Morrisseau himself, Armand Ruffo evokes the artist’s life from childhood to death, in all its vivid triumphs and tragedies. Ruffo draws upon his own Ojibway heritage and experiences to provide insight into Morrisseau’s life and iconography from an Ojibway perspective. Captivating and readable, this is a brilliantly creative evocation of the art and life of Norval Morrisseau, a life indelibly tied to art.
Armand Garnet Ruffo is the author of three books of poetry, Opening In the Sky (Theytus Books, 1994), Grey Owl: The Mystery of Archie Belaney (Coteau Books, 1997) and At Geronimo’s Grave (Coteau Books, 2001). He has also edited and co-edited (Ad)Dressing Our Words: Aboriginal Perspectives on Aboriginal Literatures (Theytus Books, 2001) and An Anthology of Canadian Native Literature in English (Oxford University Press, 2013). His screenplay, A Windigo’s Tale, has been shown across Canada and at film festivals internationally. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Queen’s University, and lives in Kingston, ON.