Cold Lake First Nations artist Alex Janvier has received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of British Columbia this week.
Janvier received the distinction a the Okanagan campus’s convocation ceremony on Thursday, where he was he artist-in-residence within the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies in 2014. The honour is one of many Janvier has received in recent years, including an exhibition at the National Gallery in Ottawa and having a mosaic of his incorporated into the new Rogers Centre in Edmonton.
“Alex Janvier stands among Canada’s greatest artists,” says UBC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal Deborah Buszard. “His powerful works are an inspiration to our students and should be experienced by everyone. UBC is delighted to have the opportunity to bestow Mr. Janvier with an honorary degree, particularly in light of his close connection to the Okanagan campus.”
Born on the Cold Lake First Nations in 1935, Janvier was sent to a residential school near St. Paul when he was eight. He graduated with honours from Alberta College of Art in Calgary in 1960 and was among a group of indigenous artists featured at Expo ’67 in Montreal.
Janvier was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2007 and was one of the members of the “Indian Group of Seven” in the 70s that aimed to promote indigenous art and encourage young indigenous Canadians to express themselves artistically.