Norval Morrisseau, who created Woodland art style, featured in Google doodle

A Winnipeg couple has worked with the world’s biggest search engine to honour one of the world’s most influential artists — Norval Morrisseau. 

Google doodles are the changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous artists, pioneers and scientists.

Blake Angeconeb and Danielle Morrison collaborated on creating a doodle for Google Canada to celebrate Morrisseau on National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.

Morrisseau, also known as Copper Thunderbird, was a renowned painter from Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek in northwestern Ontario. He became popular in the 1960s for his Woodland style, using bold brush strokes and plenty of colour. 

Angeconeb, from Lac Seul First Nation in northwestern Ontario, is an established artist himself, with a large online presence. He uses Woodland style and incorporates pop culture into his works. 

“Norval’s work was the first artwork that really truly drew me into art,” said Angeconeb. 

“There was no other artist or artwork before him that I looked at that really resonated or had an impact on me.”

Danielle Morrison and Blake Angeconeb with their three-month-old son. (Gary Solilak/CBC)

Morrison, from Anishinaabeg of Naongashiing in northwestern Ontario, is a graphic designer, lawyer and entrepreneur. She digitized the image Angeconeb created.

“[There are] deep tones, a lot of florals, references to life and nature,” Morrison said.

“And you’re going to see a little bit of Norval in the actual doodle because we really wanted to honour him as an individual.” 

Morrison said what is unknown by a lot of folks is that Morrisseau was bisexual. 

“A lot of his values were based in seeing beyond sexuality, gender, race, religion, and that life was all about interconnectedness,” she said.

“I think that’s a really important message that people around the world can really use … today.” 

This work by Norval Morrisseau is titled Androgyny. (Estate of Norval Morrisseau)

Lisa Morrisseau, Norval Morrisseau’s daughter, said when she heard Google was interested in making a doodle, “I thought that sounds wonderful. I’m glad it’s happening.

“He has a couple of grandsons that are starting to paint. They love looking up videos about him. They read books, look up pictures on the internet.” 

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