“His skill using bold colours of red, brown, orange, green and turquoise, his combination of Western painting techniques with traditional Anishinaabe imagery, his insistence on speaking his own voice, point to a unique artist whose work reveals the incredible richness of Indigenous culture. To Shilling, art was transformative – a tool to imagine other possibilities of existence in contemporary life.” – William Kingfisher, curator of “Arthur Shilling: The Final Works”
“In the sunrise, in the early morning light, I saw colors making love, and in the sunset, I wept at what I saw.” – Arthur Shilling, The Ojibway Dream
Available works range between $7,000 and $15,000
After representing Arthur Shilling (1941-1986) during the final years of his life, Kinsman Robinson are pleased to reassemble select paintings from various private collections.
Shilling is best known for his intimate portraits of family and friends on the Chippewas of Rama First Nation (formerly the Rama Reserve) an Anishinaabe community. He created a legacy through his art and rekindled pride in Indigenous people during his short life. A hulking yet gentle man, Shilling captured the sensitivity of his subject matter with bold brushstrokes accompanied by his trademark colours.
Arthur Shilling was born to Ojibway parents on the Chippewas of Rama First Nation (90-minutes north of Toronto on the eastern shore of Lake Couchiching) into a family of 13 children. He moved to Toronto during his late teens, and although he received a scholarship to attend art school, he went to few classes, preferring to find his own way. That way meant rejecting traditional Indigenous art forms, narrative legends and animal symbolism, while at the same time exploring the Indigenous experience in the life around him, particularly in the faces of his people. Over 30 years of painting, Shilling developed a distinctive, expressionistic style using bold brushstrokes of intense colour to contrast the proud defiance he found in the faces of his subjects.
In February 2016 the exhibition Arthur Shilling: The Final Works opened at the Art Gallery of Peterborough. (view exhibition). The exhibition by curator William Kingfisher, went on to tour at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, June to September 2016 then onto the MacLaren Art Centre from March to June 2017. The exhibition publication included essays by Kingfisher, Wanda Nanibush (Art Gallery of Ontario’s Curator of Indigenous Art) and artist Robert Houle who writes, “Once in a generation an artist comes into our midst and captures an inspirational collective identity. Arthur Shilling was such an artist.”
Most recently, the Reader’s Digest featured an article on Shilling’s work as reflected on by his collectors, Rudy and Gloria Bies (read article). The Bies went on to become personal friends with Shilling and his family. The article is a moving account of their relationship with an important Indigenous in his time as well as now.
McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ontario); Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto, Ontario); Canadian Museum of History (Gatineau, Québec); Indigenous Art Centre, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC)(Gatineau, Québec); The Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, Ontario); ArcelorMittal Dofasco (Hamilton, Ontario); The United Nations Art Collection; Seagram Company Ltd.; Connor, Clark & Lunn Private Capital Ltd.; Sim & McBurney/Sim Ashton & McKay LLP.
2019, Arthur Shilling: The 20th-Century Canadian Painter You Need to Know About, Reader’s Digest by Rudy and Gloria Bies.
April 14, 2018, Arthur Shilling Final Works, Electric City Magazine by Victoria Ward.
July 5, 2017, No one seems to know who is behind image of late artist Arthur Shilling in downtown alley, Orillia, Orillia Packet and Times by Mehreen Shahid.
June 20, 2016, Chippewas of Rama First Nation Curator Discusses Nationally Acclaimed Artist at Art Gallery, Anishinabek News by Rick Garrick.
The Canadian Encyclopedia. (Digital Publication)
2016 Arthur Shilling: The Final Works, Art Gallery of Peterborough. (Online Educational Guide)
1999 The Ojibway Dream, Penguin Random House.(Link to Purchase)
1986 Arthur Shilling: The Legend, Kinsman Robinson Galleries. (Downloadable PDF)
Art copyright © 2022 Arthur Shilling Estate. Photography © 2022 Michael Cullen/TPG Digital Art Services. Artist image credit: Rudy Bies. Text copyright © 2022 Kinsman Robinson Galleries. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No component of this site, including images, text, video and computer code, may be reproduced or copied in any form or by any means, electronic, graphic, digital or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage & retrieval systems, without the prior express written permission of the copyright holder(s).