I moved to Salt Spring Island, BC to open Thunderbird gallery in 1992. On the day we opened I had Morrisseau's artwork on the walls. He had captured my heart and soul and I was a devoted enthusiast.
Three years earlier, before I opened the gallery, I had purchased my very first artwork, an original painting by Norval Morrisseau. I went on to sell the painting and reinvested the proceeds into another of his works.
In December of 1994 myself, my partner and our 13 month old son Austin were driving down Granville street in Vancouver when we passed a gallery simply called the Norval Morrisseau gallery. Our first thought was that it must be someone selling Morrisseau’s art. On the off chance it was actually Morrisseau running the gallery, we went around the block and parked the car. I waited in the car with our son while my partner went down the block and entered the gallery. I assumed she would be back quickly, but 15 minutes passed before she came back to the car.
“He’s there” she said.
“Who’s there” I asked?
“Morrisseau...Norval Morrisseau is inside the gallery” was the response.
Copper Thunderbird, the Shaman artist and the one who changed the course of my life was 60 feet away inside his gallery. I got my son out of the car seat and the 3 of us made our way to the entrance and walked in…..
I have met many people in my life, some very famous ones and even some of my hero’s but here I was standing in the same room with the one and only Norval Morrisseau. I literally got goosebumps…..something that has never happened before or since.
He was sitting on a couch holding court with 3 or 4 others sitting in chairs and a coffee table in the middle. We sat with them and I am not ashamed to say I was stars truck, something that doesn’t happen very often with me.
(Below) Gabe, Morrisseau, Steffich 2006 a decade or so later at Steffich Fine Art on Salt Spring Island.
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