Statement from NMAI on Norval Morrisseau's passing

"Shaman Between Two Worlds" by Norval Morriseau (Image Courtesy of NMAI).

"Shaman Between Two Worlds" by Norval Morriseau (Image Courtesy of NMAI).

The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) acknowledges with great sadness the passing of one of the most important artists in the history of indigenous art, Norval Morrisseau.

"He was a role model, visionary and seminal force throughout Native America and Canada," said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. "We were especially fortunate to have the great man himself present at the opening of his major retrospective, 'Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist,' at our New York City museum. Through his groundbreaking and vibrant works, he positioned his rich indigenous heritage squarely within modern art; a revolutionary and uplifting achievement that influences contemporary culture through today."

John Haworth (Cherokee), director of the National Museum of the American Indian's George Gustav Heye Center, where the Norval Morrisseau retrospective is currently on view said, "This is a great loss for both the Native and artistic communities of the world. We are honored to have an exhibition of his powerful work on view at this sad time. As I walked through the galleries this morning, I contemplated how his works have uplifted and inspired countless viewers and also have encouraged hundreds of Native artists to realize their own dreams."

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