Everybody in my family was an artist” replies Anishnabe painter Glenna Matoush when asked what she dreamed of being as a girl.
Like many native people, Glenna was surrounded by art growing up in a small reserve two hours north of Toronto. The ninth of thirteen children, Glenna would watch and mimic her brother as he painted people on the reserve. Another brother asked her one day what colors their eldest brother mixed for the portraits he would come to be known for. Showing unusual precociousness Glenna rattled off the colors; white, red, yellow and a touch of blue.
Glenna launched her professional career at age sixteen when she sold nudes she had painted on a brown paper bag for twelve dollars. “It was for a bus ticket from here to there. ” she remembers. And then adds, “But I had to hitchhike home. ”
In the years to follow, her work would take her, without having to hitch a ride, to New York, Mexico, Paris, Italy, Guatemala.
Places few dared dream of actually getting to see in underprivileged Rama.
First Memory: Running up a hill to see my younger sister’s funeral procession. We weren’t allowed to go. I think I was four years old.
Best words of advice you ever heard: Don’t hesitate with your brush.
Song you want played at your funeral: Pachabel’
Canon, full blast. Baroi What are you painting right now? Happy and joyful paintings of the wows I’ve been to.
Person you would like to meet most: Norval Morriseau Dream job: To develop a native arts centre here in Montreal with my frieti Monique Meunier.
Most treasured possession: My art collection…it’s not a big collection. In fact, they were stolen.
Wannabe Indians… can I make a list?
People who go Westmount on me.
To Be Or Not To Be.
Cree of the year: Margaret Sam Cromarty. Because she’s so sensitive about her culture, beautiful and she’s so proud. She has a beautiful spirit. I can’t say enough about this lady.
Brush with greatness: Barry Ferguson. He’s a writer and a good friend of mine.
Choice for honorary Cree: David Denton, he’s a real cool guy
Favorite author: Boyce Richardson (Strangers Devour The Land, Terra Nullius)
Words you love to hear: Encore s’il vous plait.
Title of your autobiography: Matoush Who are your heroes in real life? My late brother Arthur Shilling because he was an influence in my Fe since I was a girl. He was my role model. Magazines read: The Nation, Art magazines and everything else I can find in the garbage.
Greatest fear: Getting bad news from up north.
How you would like to die?
Best pickup line you’ve ever used:
Are you Attikamek?
If you were an animal which would you be and why? A
dragonfly, it’s so beautiful and fragile.
A moose or caribou, it tastes good, it gives nourishment to the people.
The third? Whatever gives nourishment… Definitely not Kentucky ried Chicken.
Which word or phrases do you most overuse? Holy cow!
Where were you when 3FK got shot? I was on
I had to run a mile to my grandma’s house to watch it on TV. t do you
consider your greatest achievement? Being invited to Europe and entrai America for art Flows and also producing my last painting.
Who were you in a past life?