Daphne Odjig was born in 1919 at Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island, and is one of Canada’s most celebrated Indigenous painters and printmakers. Odjig was of Odawa, Potawatomi and English heritage, and first learned about artmaking from her grandfather, Jonas Odjig, a tombstone carver who taught her to draw and paint.
Odjig’s style, which evolved and changed over the decades, is readily identifiable. Mixing traditional Indigenous styles and imagery with Cubist and Surrealist influences, her work is defined by curved contours, strong outlines, overlapping shapes, and an unsurpassed colour sense. Her work has addressed issues of colonization, the displacement of Indigenous peoples, and the status of Indigenous women and children, bringing Indigenous political issues to the forefront of contemporary art practice and theory.