JULY 30, 2005


Born May 24, 1943, in West Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario (now M’Chigeeng First Nation), Beam attended the Kootenay School of Art before graduating from University of Victoria.  In 1984, Thunder Bay Art Gallery commissioned him to do a major work.  The result, Exorcism (1984), was a 20-foot-long multi-media work.  At the unveiling, Beam had archers shoot arrows at the work from across the gallery.  The North American Iceberg (1985) was the 1st work of contemporary Aboriginal art bought by the National Gallery of Canada.  The Columbus Project (1992) raised issues surrounding the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival.  The Whale of Our Being examined our inability to live in harmony with nature.  Beam was inducted into the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts (2000) and received the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2005).  Carl Beam, a posthumous exhibition of his work, was organized by the National Gallery in 2011.  Beam died on July 30, 2005, at M’Chigeeng.

Source:  Mary E. Southcott, “Carl Beam,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 12/20/2011.  Retrieved 7/8/2019, https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/carl-beam
Photo:  Smithsonian Institute, undated.  Uncredited photograph in “Survey of Carl Beam, Canada’s Most Prominent Native Artist, Opens at National Museum of the American Indian in New York Oct. 29,” 8/17/2011, https://www.si.edu/newsdesk/releases/survey-carl-beam-canada-s-most-prominent-native-artist-opens-national-museum-american-india.  Permissive Use.

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