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Allen Sapp was born in his grandparentís log cabin on the Red Pheasant Reserve in Saskatchewan. Allenís mother died when he was quite young, and his grandmother, Nokum, raised him. Their relationship was very close and despite Nokumís passing, she has
been a great influence on Allenís life to this day.
Allen Sapp is Plains Cree, descended from Chief Poundmaker, who is one of the Great Chiefs and is still honoured by his people today. In his early years, Allenís health was poor. During a
serious illness when he was about eight years old, his grandmotherís sister said that unless Allen was given a new Indian name, he would die. Allen received his Cree name, Kiskayetum; translated it means ďHe perceives it.Ē It was the first of many
spiritual experiences in his life. When he was in his early teens Allen was bedridden with meningitis, which prevented him from attending school. Unable to read or write, Allen spent the hours of solitude sketching and drawing, which suited his shy
temperament. A self-taught artist, when Allen first started working in oils his pallet was restricted by his budget to only a few colours. His early paintings were done in white, brown and black.
Allen Sapp later moved to North Battleford,
Saskatchewan, where he painted at night and walked the streets during the day to find buyers for his work. When he was in his mid-thirties, he met Dr. Allan Gonor, who became a very good friend and patron. Dr. Gonor encouraged Allen to paint what he
remembered of life growing up on the reserve. He promised to buy much of Allenís work and arranged the sale of other paintings so that Allen could make a living as an artist without having to rely on welfare. With Dr. Gonorís support, Allen never looked
back. Allen's art is a window to life on the reserve as it was when he was growing up in the 1930's and 40's. Many of these scenes have disappeared from current reserve life. Allen's paintings depict the struggle for survival by a proud people in a harsh
In 1969 and 1970, successful exhibitions in Saskatoon and Vancouver launched Allenís career. Within the next five years, Allen Sappís paintings were widely exhibited and acclaimed throughout Canada, and in London, New York and Los
Allen Sapp is an inspiration to younger Native painters across Canada. At the "New Beginnings" Native Art Show, held in conjunction with the Native Business Summit in Toronto in June 1986, Allen Sapp was singled out as a Senior Native
artist in Canada, "whose contributions to the present renaissance of Native art and culture will only be measured by history."
1975 Royal Canadian Academy of Art
1987 Officer of the Order of Canada
1995 Saskatchewan Arts Board's Lifetime Award for Excellence in the Arts, three paintings were selected to hang in the Canadian
Embassy in Moscow
1985 Saskatchewan Award of Merit
1989 Opening and dedication of the Allen Sapp Gallery - The Gonor Collection, North Battleford, SK
2010 Paintings from the 1960'2 - 2000's, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2007 Hockey Times, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2007 Solo exhibition, Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2002 "Recollections," Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
2000 "Remembering," Canada House Gallery, Banff, AB
1996 Humberston-Edwards Gallery, Vancouver, BC
1995 Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal, QC
1994 Assiniboia Gallery, Regina, SK
1993 Humberston-Edwards Gallery, Vancouver, BC
"Kiskayetum - Allen Sapp: A Retrospective," Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK
Master's Gallery, Calgary, AB
Hambleton Galleries, Kelowna, BC
"Kiskayetum - Allen Sapp: A Retrospective", Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, AB
Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, QC
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, ON
Hollander-York Gallery, Toronto, ON
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, SK
Allen Sapp Gallery: The Gonor Collection, North Battleford, SK
Assiniboia Bessborough, Saskatoon, SK
Wilfert's Hambleton Galleries, Kelowna, BC
Master's Gallery, Calgary, AB
West End Gallery, Edmonton, AB
2010 Rocky Mountain Outloo/a>
1996 "I Heard the Drums", Allen Sapp, published by Stoddart, three paintings were selected for UNICEF'S card series
1990 "Two Spirits Soar: The Art of Allen Sapp", published by Stoddart
1994 "On the Road Again", CBC
1989 "Allen Sapp: For Art's Sake", film documentary, STV
1983 "Four Prairie Artists", film documentary, CBC
1973 "Colours of Pride", film documentary, National Film Board of Canada
1971 "By Instinct A Painter", film documenatry, CBC
1977 "A Cree Life: The Art of Allen Sapp", John Anson Warner and Thecla Bradshaw
All images copyrighted by the artists.