Figure 1 Publishing

Art + Design / Indigenous Art + Culture

Early Days

Indigenous Art from the McMichael

Bonnie Devine, Sarah Milroy, and John Geoghegan, in collaboration with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

A landmark publication bringing together more than seventy voices illuminating the rich array of Indigenous art held by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.

Winner of the Canadian Museum Association award for Outstanding Achievement in Research.


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“Change requires boldness, and a shared, unexpected boldness is in the air. It’s still early days, no doubt about it, but movement has begun.”

Bonnie Devine

Book Description

Under the editorial direction of Anishinaabe artist and scholar Bonnie Devine, Early Days gathers the insights of myriad Indigenous cultural stakeholders, informing us on everything from goose hunting techniques, to the history of Northwest Coast mask making, to the emergence of the Woodland style of painting and printmaking, to the challenges of art making in the Arctic, to the latest developments in contemporary art by Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island.

Splendidly illustrated, Early Days not only tells the story of a leading collection but traces the emergence and increasing participation of many Indigenous artists in the contemporary art world. This publication will be the largest in the history of the McMichael, and represents a vital acknowledgment of the place of Indigenous art and ways of knowing in global art history.

Featured contributors

Featured contributors: Barry Ace, Pierre Aupilardjuk, Leland Bell, Dempsey Bob, Violet Chum, Hannah Claus, Dana Claxton, Taa.uu ‘Tuuwans Nika Collison, Alan Ojiig Corbiere, Marcia Crosby, Ruth Cuthand, Mique’l Dangeli, Sarah Florence Davidson, Robert Davidson, Blake Debassige, Bonnie Devine, Tarralik Duffy, Norma Dunning, David Garneau, John Geoghegan, Janice Grey, Haay’uups (Ron Hamilton), Jim Hart, Emma Hassencahl-Perley, Emily Henderson, Lynn Hill, Richard William Hill, Maria Hupfield, Heather Igoliorte, Luis Jacob, Gayle Uyagaqi Kabloona, William Kingfisher, Jessica Kotierk, Robin Laurence, Duane Linklater, Ange Loft, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Jean Marshal, Michael Massie, Kaitlin McCormick, Gerald McMaster, Ossie Michelin, Sarah Milroy, Antoine Mountain, Nadia Myre, Wanda Nanibush, Jeneen Frei Njootli, Ruth B. Phillips, Jocelyn Piirainen, Ryan Rice, Carmen Robertson, Paul Seesequasis, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Wedlidi Speck, Michelle Sylliboy, Snxakila Clyde Tallio, Drew Hayden Taylor, Nakkita Trimble, Jesse Tungilik, Camille Georgeson-Usher, William Wasden Jr., Jordan Wilson, Jessica Winters.

Touring Exhibition Dates

Heard Museum
Phoenix, Arizona
September 1, 2023–January 2, 2024

Albuquerque Museum
Albuquerque, New Mexico
January 27–April 21, 2024

Chrysler Museum of Art
Norfolk, Virginia
May 24–September 2, 2024




“The essays are not written in academic artspeak by settler curators … these are grandchildren, other relatives and neighbours explaining in often the plainest possible language how an object was created and what it means years, or centuries, later to the community from which it sprang.”
Galleries West

“A comprehensive book showcasing centuries of Indigenous art and cultural expression.”
Cambridge Times

“This gorgeous history book meets extensive art catalogue, meets stunning coffee table book”
Vancouver Sun

The Province

Upcoming Events

Virtual Curatorial Talk:
Early Days, New Directions for Indigenous Art at the McMichael
Sunday, Jan 21, 3:00PM
Virtual via Zoom


  • Hardcover
  • 10 × 11 inches
  • 408 pages
  • 200 colour photographs
  • 978-1-77327-233-7
  • $70 CAN / $55 USD
  • November 2023