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Neal Johansson-McLeod

I have drawn and painted my whole life-- and it has been the central thread throughout my experiences, and the way I have made sense of the world around me. I am dyslexic, and I had a very hard time learning how to read. Painting and drawing gave me the chance to  express myself, and make meaning from the world. Ever since I could hold a pencil, I have had a desire to make marks upon paper, canvas, or whatever surfaces I could find. 

 

My artistic influences include the paintings of Norval Morrisseau, Jackson Pollock, Vincent Van Gogh and Jean-Michael. I had the great opportunity to study at the Umeå Konsthogskola (Academy of Fine Art at Umeå, Sweden).

 

My paternal ancestry is Cree—an Indigenous nation from Canada. I am grateful that I speak this language, and I am grateful for how the language shapes me, and forms me. Essential to my artwork is narrative. In my work, I draw heavily upon Cree narratives which I have learned from many Cree storytellers over the course of my life.  My maternal ancestry is Swedish, and I am grateful that I speak Swedish. My artistic frame of reference has been influenced by my early experiences in Sweden, and has also been profoundly shaped by the visually rich corpus of modern Swedish poetry. 

 

I believe that art is maskihkiy, medicine, and I believe that our world needs this power now more than ever. I believe that art has the power to transform people, and to transform the world. 

 

I am honoured that you have taken the time to look at my art.