Our Monthly Story

Cecil Youngfox

Plot L, Lot 1919
Mount Pleasant Cemetery

Cecil Youngfox was only 44-years-old when cancer snuffed out his life. This prominent and popular Métis artist grew up in an Indian settlement near Blind River, Ontario, one of five children supported by a single mother. After four years of study at Newman Theological College in St. Albert, Alberta, Youngfox returned to Northern Ontario to work with the mentally retarded. He later took a job as a steelworker with Algoma Steel Corp., painting in his spare time. He moved to Toronto in 1979, deeply in debt but confident he could market his paintings, but continuously returned to the north to speak to native students about his art and his life, comparing his success as an artist to the time he suffered from drug and alcohol abuse. With exhibits in his own country as well as the United States, Portugal, Germany and South America, Youngfox was finally enjoying success. His paintings represent myths and legends as well as contemporary issues. His work called Returning depicts women carrying papooses, walking back to reserves. It was inspired by a federal government bill of June, 1986 that restored Indian status to women who married non-status Indians. In Search of Land shows three Indians walking past an undiscovered gold vein, represented by a streak of yellow running through the soil. Youngfox, recipient of the Aboriginal Order of Canada, donated a 30-piece collection of both early sketches and advanced paintings to his hometown town hall and library. Cecil Robert Youngfox died on February 24, 1987.


 
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