Jackson BeardyJackson Beardy, artist (b Quentin Pickering Jackson Beardy at Island Lake, Manitoba 24 July 1944; d at Winnipeg 8 Dec 1984). He was educated at a government RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL and studied art at the Winnipeg Technical Vocational High School and the University of Manitoba. In his twenties he struggled with episodes of serious illness. His art draws on a deep knowledge of his native CREE tradition gained from a close childhood relationship with his grandmother and from his systematic collection of myths and legends in northern Manitoba during the mid-1960s. In 1972 he joined with ODJIG, MORRISSEAU, RAY, JANVIER, Cobiness and Sanchez to form the "Woodlands Group of Seven."
Although Beardy's early work often narrates specific legends, his mature art expresses fundamental cosmological and spiritual concepts such as balance in nature, regeneration and growth, and the interdependence of all things. His distinctive graphic style is characterized by precisely defined flat areas of warm colour and curving ribbons of paint. From 1982 to 1983 he was senior arts adviser to the federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (now ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT).