Sunday, September 13, 2015
Daphne Odjig (1919-)
Back in the mid-1970s, my mother returned from a trip to eastern Canada with two publications purchased during a visit to the McMichael Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, twenty-eight miles northwest of Toronto.
The larger publication focused on the range of the collection. This included artworks by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, and mostly Woodlands First Nations artists such as Alex Janvier, Norval Morrisseau and Daphne Odjig. The smaller publication is a bookwork entitled Tales from the Smokehouse (1974), a collection of illustrations by Daphne Odjig based on what Wikipedia describes as "traditional First Nations erotica written by Herbert T. Schwarz."
Tales from the Smokehouse startled my early-teenaged self because of its explicit drawings, some of which included my introduction to what the Kama Sutra calls the "congress of a crow," but is more concretely known to Western audiences as "69". More startling, however, was a visit I made to the National Gallery of Canada some thirty-five years later, on the occasion of Odjig's solo exhibition, where tamer versions of these drawings were hidden behind a "privacy wall".
On September 11, Daphne Odjig achieved the post-coital roll-over number of 96.