Pictographs, by James Simon Mishibinijima

In Pictographs, Ojibway artist James Simon Mishibinijima brings to life the legends passed down to him by generations of Elders. In this collection of drawings, each image tells a story, silently communicating lessons of harmony, interconnectedness and peace.

We're pleased to feature five images from the book, as well as an excerpt from the introduction by Curator Tom Smart. 

*****

At the heart of Mishibinijima’s pictographic art is a conviction that the images painted on rock faces across the Canadian Shield and incised on sacred birch bark scrolls of the Grand Medicine Society are repositories of the religion, ethics and history of the Anishinabek people. Mishibinijima’s art reflects a lifelong search for ways in which past and present, the spiritual and human, the animate and inanimate can, and do, comingle in phenomena both seen and sensed.

Mishibinijima has spent much of his life exploring the islands and waterways of Manitoulin Island, the shores of Birch Island, the La Cloche mountains and the northern edges of Lake Huron. Contemplative, and patient, Mishibinijima’s purpose on his journeys of discovery has been to attune himself to the spiritual energy that radiates from any specific place, from the land and the water and from the souls that have lived and travelled along these routes for millennia. Watching, listening, ever attentive to the subtle perceptions that connect him with Mother Earth, it is Her progeny and the souls of ancestors that connect Mishibinijima’s present with the distant past.

According to legend, Manitoulin Island is riddled with spirit portals that allow access to the spirit world for prayers that are offered up to those who have come before and who have passed on. Conversely, these same portals also allow spirits to return to the human realm and initiate contact themselves. Over the course of his time immersed in this landscape Mishibinijima has developed a rare faculty for reading—and internalizing—the language of the pictographs that are painted and etched onto the rocks above the water line. He borrows their ancient grammar to tell his own stories. The pictographs are visual markers of these portals. Mishibinijima’s own pictographs are an essential part of this ancient tradition.

—Tom Smart, Curator and Supervisor of Education Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (Brampton)

**

Animal Teachers of Survival

Animal Teachers of Survival

 

Dawn of the Final Warning

Dawn of the Final Warning

 

 

Inner Spirit

Inner Spirit

 

Serpent Spirits

Serpent Spirits

 

The Sacred Blanket

The Sacred Blanket

October 12, 2017
Books mentioned in this post
Pictographs

Pictographs

The Graphic Art of James Simon Mishibinijima
edition:Paperback
More Info
comments powered by Disqus

X
Contacting facebook
Please wait...