Sunday, February 21, 2016

Musée des Abénakis - Paddle Decoration on Wall Mural

While trying to do more research of the paddle on display at the  Musée des Abénakis (see previous post here), I came across the museum's YouTube channel. Their introductory video  is quite the production showcasing their fine collection and facility.

What really got me excited however was the extremely quick frame at the 1:53 mark. It is a closeup of the art panel behind their canoe exhibit. Some words in the native language are front and centre, but behind them is a shot a canoe paddle blade finely decorated in a painted motif. Here is the screen shot...

A zoomed in image along with some photoshop adjustments revealed a very interesting pattern. You can see a distinct cross-like checkered pattern with each quadrant painted in a unique style. Dots, cross hatches and what appear to be snake-like figures adorn the blade.

I've sent word to the museum regarding the painting in the background wondering if it was done by an historical artist or a new interpretation by a modern artist. Hoping to hear from them and update soon.


f wade said...

That looks like a Francis Back painting. He is a Montreal based historical artist

f wade said...

That looks like a Francis Back painting. He is a Montreal based artist who specializes in the history of New France

David said...

Good day Murat, have you find, in your research on the native paddles, what would have they use for paint in the past for paddle decoration?

Murat said...

Thanks f wade! I'll try to research and contact him directly if there's no feedback from the museum.

Murat said...

David. All I've read or discussed with other paddle makers (like Rick Nash) is that they would have traditionally used Red or Yellow Ochre and black charcoal in oil as basic colours. Later, Vermillion Red (toxic mercury based), green and blue paints would've been available as trade goods. It looks like readily available milk paints have been used to decorate model paddles and canoes meant for the souvenir trade. But of course, these were only meant for display. I've sent an email to this museum about the painting decoration on this paddle. Hopefully, someone there will respond.

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