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The Woodland School Of Art, also named Woodlands style, Woodlands School, or Anishnabe painting, is a genre of painting among First Nations and Native American artists from the Great Lakes area - including northern Ontario and southwestern Manitoba. The majority of the Woodland artists belong to the Anishinaabeg - notably the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi, as well as the Oji-Cree and the Cree. The style is also known as Legend Painting or Medicine Painting.[1]


The style was founded by Norval Morrisseau, a First Nations Ojibwe artist from Northern Ontario, Canada.[2] He learned Ojibwe history and culture primarily from his grandfather Moses "Potan" Nanakonagos and in the 1950s collected traditional narratives from his tribe. This oral history has provided inspiration and subject matter for his paintings, and he drew upon dreams and visions.[1] Morrisseau said, "all my painting and drawing is really a continuation of the shaman's scrolls."[3] Ojibwe intaglio, pictographs, petrographs rock art and birch bark scrolls, Wiigwaasabak, were stylistic antecedents of the Woodland style.


This visionary style emphasizes outlines and x-ray views of people, animals, and plant life.[1] Colours are vivid, even garish. While Morrisseau painted on birch bark initially, the media of Woodland style tends to be western, such as acrylic, gouache, or watercolor paints on paper, wood panels, or canvas.

Woodland style artistsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Norval Morrisseau." Native American Artworld. (retrieved 25 Oct 2010)
  2. ^ Berlo and Phillips 229
  3. ^ Berlo and Phillips 230
  4. ^ a b c d Berlo and Phillips 231
  5. ^ "Artist and Scholar List". First American Art Magazine. Retrieved 8 July 2016.


  • Berlo, Janet C. and Ruth B. Phillips. Native North American Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998: 97-8. ISBN 978-0-19-284218-3.

Further readingEdit

  • Dawson,K.C.A. (1966) "The Kaministikwia Itaglio Dog Effigy Mound." Ontario Archeology. No.9 (June):25-84.
  • Pollack, Jack. The Art of Norval Morrisseau. Toronto: Metheren Press, 1979. ASIN B001BY1VHU.
  • Rajnovich,Grace. "Reading Rock Art." Interpreting the Indian Rock Paintings of the Canadian Shield. Dundum Press Ltd., 1994'
  • Robinson, Donald C. Travels To the House of Invention. Bolton, Ontario: Key Porter Books, Ltd., 1997. ISBN 1-55013-880-4.
  • Selwyn Dewdney and King Kenneth E. Indian Rock Paintings of the Great Lakes. University of Toronto Press, 1967.

External linksEdit