In the left panel of this diptych, Moses Potan Nanakonagos, the artist’s maternal grandfather—his Anishinaabek Mishomis—appears regally enveloped in the spirits and colours of the natural and supernatural worlds, poised to convey his stories to the youngster in the right panel. There, Morrisseau presents himself as a young boy, respectfully acknowledging his debt to his Mishomis. The two panels connect but also diverge: Morrisseau is signalling his shift away from his Anishinaabe roots and toward the spiritual pursuit of Eckankar.
Norval Morrisseau’s Spiritual Vision
Norval Morrisseau, The Storyteller: The Artist and His Grandfather, 1978
Acrylic on canvas, diptych: each panel 176.3 x 96.6 cm, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Aboriginal Art Collection, Gatineau, QC