“Androgyny is breathtaking not only because of its intense colours and sheer size but also because of its intent and its complex imagery. The monumental canvas expresses Norval Morrisseau’s personal understanding of life’s interconnectedness and explores his notions of gender identity. At the centre of this painted cosmic universe is a dome enclosed by the outstretched wings of Thunderbird. The spirit figure is accompanied at the core of this world by other spirit-beings, or manitous, that represent the life force of all living things, including the snake that reaches from the underworld to the spirit world. Surrounding this centre are the turtles, muskrats, frogs, fish, birds, butterflies, trees, and men, women, and children that appear in many of Morrisseau’s works.
“Former Governor General Michaëlle Jean arranged for it to be installed in the ballroom at her official residence, Rideau Hall. While it hung there, Prime Minister Stephen Harper chose the painting as the backdrop for the unveiling of his 2008 Cabinet.” — Carmen Robertson, excerpted from Norval Morrisseau: Life & Work