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Norval Morrisseau

Otavnik Vs Thunder Bay Art Gallery

This is just the initial background information.

The plaintiff was interested in donating some of his and his families’ art collection of Norval Morrisseau and contacted the Thunder Bay Art Gallery hereinto refereed to as the TBAG in 2004. The TBAG were interested, I send them photographs of the artwork I would be willing to donate. The TBAG choose the artwork they were interested in from the photos. I then arranged to personally meet with the TBAG and bring with me the paintings’ they were interested in. I did so, the TBAG choose the paintings’ they were interested in after inspecting them at the TBAG.  I left them with the TBAG and completed the application process involved with the Canadian Cultural Export Property Review Board hereinto referred to as the CCEPRB. The plaintiff worked with the TBAG, the TBAG applied to the CCEPRB. The TBAG’s senior curator approved the donation, so did the Board of the TBAG.  The TBAG applied to the CCEPRB, staff at the CCEPRB preformed their due diligence, it was approved by staff, and then approved by the full ten (10) member(s) Board of the CCEPRB, and the application was approved. Title to the four (4) paintings was then transferred to the TBAG and then Revenue Canada issued the appropriate certified tax receipt. The plaintiff and his family was happy and I assume so was the TBAG.

Everything was fine until 2014 when the TBAG allowed Carmen Robertson access to the four (4) donated paintings. This visiting professor then proceeded to call them “fakes” and communicated that to the staff of the TBAG. Moreover, she further disseminated her opinion in a series of lectures posted on YouTube and in university seminars/presentations across Canada. The plaintiff had no knowledge of this until he found a copy of her Export Report for an unrelated court case. The plaintiff subsequently sued Carmen Robertson and after two (2) no shows at settlement conferences.  

The plaintiff then approached the TBAG and asked for a clarification with respect to Carmen Robertson and the donation by his family, but received no response. The plaintiff has clearly communicated to the TBAG, that the TBAG either support the position of Carmen Robertson or that of the plaintiff, the application by the TBAG and approval of the CCEPRB and Revenue Canada.

At this point you have to ask yourself, What is going on? The gallery who accepted, verified and authenticated the donation in question (in 2004) no longer stands by it? Why have they thrown the main curator (who I will not name for the moment) who approved it at that the time under the bus? The paintings’ in question were again approved by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board (CCPERB) staff and then entire Board then Revenue Canada etc? Moreover, the defendant will offer no witness (or experts etc) to back her claims nor is she going to testify according to her lawyer. (The CCPERB) will testify and re-affirm the original donation-but nobody will testify for the defendant’s position including herself?

The plaintiff will seek damages for defamation and breach of fiduciary duty in the amount of $25,000 which is the limit of Small Claims Court. The other members of the plaintiffs’ family will be suing for more than ten (10) million dollars in District Court. The plaintiff’s family are well known donors of art in the art community and the treatment and lack of support from the TBAG have damaged their reputations among the designated organizations and in the wider art world.

The City of Thunder Bay has had a long history of racism which is well documented and known. Why is Sharon Godwin protecting Carmen Robertson? Why does Sharon Godwin believe Carmen Robertson over that of the original curator, Board of Directors’, the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board staff and then full ten (10) member Board.

I am in the process of communication these facts to both National and International newspapers, The United Nations’, the First Nations’ community in Canada etc.

More coming soon!!!!

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