Allen Sapp Essay, Research Paper
Allen Sapp is a famous Indian artist. He was born in 1928 on the Red Pheasant Reserve near Battleford, Saskatchewan. He was raised and cared for by his grandmother, Maggie Soonias because his mother died of tuberculosis. He was a sickly child who was often picked on by other children. He took great pleasure in painting and drawing, beginning at age eight.
Sapp married and in 1960 his son David was born in a tuberculosis sanitorium where his wife was sick. In 1961 she got out and they moved to Battleford. Allen tried to live off his art and tried to paint waht he thought the white man would like, often calendar art of places and animals he?d never actually seen. He dressed as he thought the white man would accept, and he knew little English.
One morning in 1966 Sapp walking into the North Battleford Medical Clinic to sell his paintings. Here he met Dr. Allan Gonor, who liked his work. On his second visit Dr. Gonor saw a painting of Cheif Sam Swimmer and liked it. He bought it and asked for more. Allen began painting what he knew from the reserve. He turned out many paintings at a tremendous rate. Dr. Gonor arranged for him to see an art professor from the U of S. The little instruction he got form her was the only formal instruction he has ever had. In September 1968 she showed some of Allen?s paintings in her backyard. The show was a great success. On the Easter weekend of 1969 Allen had his first major exhibition. The people loved him. He became a great success. The value of his paintings went way up in the next little while as his popularity streadily increased and he did shows all over Canada and in the US and England. He once again became proud of his Indian heritage and began to dress the part. By 1974 he even had a book written about him.
In 1977 Sapp?s son, David, died.
In 1985 Dr. Gonor died while visiting Thailand
In December 1985 Sapp was elected to the Royal Canadian Acadamy of Arts (R.C.A.A.). He also became one of the first eight receipants of the Saskatchewan Award of Merit. In 1986 he was recognized as one of the Senior Native Artists in Canada. In January 1987 the Governor General of Canada appointed Sapp as an Officer to the Order of Canada. He continues to be a great success to this day.
Allen Sapp?s art is very unique. He has a photographic memory and paints scenes form the past form his childhood on the reserve. This is why his paintings seem to be from a child?s perspective. Also, Allen doesn?t make any kind of sketches in preparatation for his paintings. He just thinks, sees what he wants, returns to a long ago time and place in his mind, and then paints it. There is a certain feeling, a certain mood of emotion evident in Sapp?s paintings. This comes form painting a real living experience of an event he remembers well. When he paints, he knows the exact location of the scene, what was beyond the canvas, what was being said and why. His paintings reveal the way of life of the Cree people in the 1930s and 1940s, a way of life still common today.
1. Warner, John Anson, and Bradshaw, Theda. A Cree Life: The Art of
Allen Sapp. Vancouver: J.J. Douglas Ltd., 1977
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4. Civilization.ca: ALLEN SAPP — Biographical Note. [Online] Available,
5. Civilization.ca: INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED CREE ARTIST
ALLEN SAPP AT THE CANADIAN MUSEUM OF
CIVILIZATION. [Online] Available,