Indian Jesus Christ was made famous in the 1974 National Film Board documentary The Paradox of Norval Morrisseau, in which the artist states, “Jesus died for the white man, not for Indians.” Morrisseau experienced sexual abuse at a Catholic residential school as a boy, and his pointed comments are not surprising. However, this canvas and its representation in the film created controversy. Seemingly struggling to counter Morrisseau’s comments, the narrator of the documentary describes the artist as someone seeking refuge in Christianity.
Norval Morrisseau’s Spiritual Vision
Norval Morrisseau, Indian Jesus Christ, 1974
Acrylic on paper, 134.6 x 68.5 cm, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Aboriginal Art Collection, Gatineau, QC