Alex Janvier’s Morning Star: A Metaphor For Canada’s Competing Cultures
By Elaine Radman
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Alex Janvier’s Morning Star at the Canadian Museum of Civilization is a reflection of the First People’s shared experience of loss, displacement, renewal and reconciliation. This mural adorns 418 square feet of the dome area above the staircase located at the end of the Canadian Museum of Civilization’s Grand Hall. The artist’s use of colour, imagery and shapes constructs a historical narrative, in the form of a circular timeline, which depicts the experiences shared by Canada’s First Peoples. The circular timeline format of Alex Janvier’s Morning Star is a direct reflection of the role of Canadian historiography, in that, the issues of the past are continually being shaped by the present. This paper will examine the main themes of Alex Janvier’s Morning Star by investigating the context in which the mural was created, the narratives associated with the painting and the anthropological method First Peoples are portrayed in Canadian historiography. In addition, this discourse analyze will compare Janvier’s Morning Star narrative with the Canadian historical narrative to show its differing perspectives on history and identity.
Alex Janvier, Canadian history, First Peoples, Native Art.
Elaine Radman is a Master’s of Arts Candidate in the Heritage Conservation Program at Carleton University’s School of Canadian Studies. Her research interests include studying the issues surrounding cultural identities, heritage interpretation and the tourism industry. Elaine began her academic career at McGill University. In 2007, she obtained her Bachelor’s of Arts in history and anthropology, where she explored the relations between Canada’s Anglophones, Francophones and First Peoples. In 2010, Elaine completed her Master’s in Library and Information Studies. At McGill’s Library School, she learned the theories and practices behind cataloguing books and issues surrounding copyright law, the retention of electronic documents and ebooks. Elaine has also worked in the museum sector in Montreal, where she participated and organized educational activities, documented artifacts and learned what it was like being a 17th century colonial peasant.