Emily Carr Research Paper

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Emily Carr (December 13th 1871-March 2nd 1945) was a Great Canadian modernist artist, author, influential female, member of the Group of Seven, and lover of nature and the rich culture and traditions of the Aboriginal people of Canada. Her paintings captured the spiritual forests of Canada’s west coast, and her noncompliance to the norms expected of women at the time has made her an important figure in feminist art history; she is well-recognized as the most famous female artist in Canada. Her work has inspired and will continue to inspire generations of Canadians; her legacy has been inarguably influential, though aspects of it have been received critically. There are many different viewpoints to take on her influence and work, but she is…show more content…
Despite being raised and taught in a very traditional, Presbyterian manner, she was defiant of traditional roles and values for women at the time. Her father, however, greatly supported her in art. Tragically, her parents died when she was a teenager, and in 1891 she took her love of art a step further and studied at the California School of Design in San Francisco. In 1899, she further studied art at the Westminster School of Art in London, England. Then, in 1910, she travelled to France and studied at Studio Colarossi in Paris; she was intent on learning more about the modernist art style. She also took private lessons with Harry Gibb, a British artist, there. Emily Carr developed a post-impressionist (art portraying deep emotions and using symbolism) style of art that was very distinct; she was also very inspired by First Nations art. She also developed a goal; to capture the culture of the Aboriginal people of Canada. At the time, their culture was considered to be “disappearing” (as, at the time, people believed that they should be assimilated and that they were “inferior”). In order to achieve this, she travelled to various Aboriginal villages, and she also discovered another goal of hers: to capture the beautiful landscapes of Canada in her…show more content…
During her lifetime Aboriginal culture was thought to be dying and First Nations people to be inferior; the government was trying to assimilate them through Residential Schools. The discrimination was clear; colonial attitudes at the time meant that white Europeans felt that they were superior to Aboriginal people, who they thought of as “savages”. In fact, in 1833, our first prime minister said, on the topic of residential schools: “When the school is on the reserve, the child lives with his parents who are savages; he is surrounded by savages and though he may learn to read and write, his habits and training and mode of thought are Indian. He is simply a savage who can read and write.” -Sir John A. Macdonald (site the newspaper article here). Emily Carr did not believe in colonial attitudes, and this was something she tried to portray through her paintings; by painting Aboriginal totem poles in deserted villages, by painting the beauty and spirit of nature on its own, by symbolism, and through other means, she was trying to communicate that Canada was not a “new world”, but a country that already rich heritage and nature that the colonist attitude was destroying. An example of one of her paintings that shows this would be her painting “Indian Church”, painted in 1929; it shows a stiff, white church against a background of tall forest and dark green trees; the stiffness

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