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Artwork by Sam Ash

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About the Artist

This Ojibwa artist was born in Sioux Lookout in Ontario, Canada, in 1951. He was raised by foster parents when his mother died during childbirth and he was left deaf and mute. He was educated at the Ontario School for the Deaf in Belleview until 1970, and through perseverance, he learned how to read and write in order to communicate. He found another ability to communicate through his artwork. Ash has been painting since 1974. He is one of the Algonquin Legend Painters and he most commonly works with acrylics and prints. His work is most commonly considered abstract, but is far from unrecognizable. He uses bright colors and thick lines to create his unique renderings of Native American life. His lines are consistent throughout his works, and he has a remarkable understanding of color that he cannot even see. His artistic subjects are usually people and animals which exhibit his trademark large eyes and pointed lips. To the artist, these images just might be realistic renderings of the world as he pictures it. His artwork has been included in the public collections of Thunder Bay Art Gallery in Ontario, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Heritage Center Inc. Collection in South Dakota, and the collection of the Government of Ontario. He has held exhibitions at The Contemporary Native Art of Canada center at the Royal Ontario Museum, the Red Cloud Indian Art Show in South Dakota, the Canada House Gallery in London and various other galleries in Canada. In 1978 he won an award for his work at the Red Cloud Indian Art Show.