Alex Janvier has been painting for over 40 years and has created a unique style, his own “visual language,” informed by the rich cultural and spiritual traditions and heritage of the Dene in northern Alberta. Alex Janvier was born on Le Goff Reserve, Cold Lake First Nations, northern Alberta in 1935. At the age of eight, he was sent to the Blue Quills Residential Indian School near St. Paul, Alberta, where the principal recognized his innate artistic talent and encouraged him in his art. Mr. Janvier received formal art training from the Alberta Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (now the Alberta College of Art and Design) and graduated with honours in 1960. In 1966, the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs commissioned him to produce 80 paintings. He helped bring together a group of artists for the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo ‘67, among them Norval Morrisseau and Bill Reid. In recent years, his work has been characterized by flowing, curvilinear lines and more abstraction. His unique language has made its mark, cementing his legacy as one of the country’s foremost painters. Alex Janvier lives in Cold Lake, Alberta.
2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts