Saul Williams is a painter and graphic artist who was born in North
Caribou Lake, Ontario, Canada. He has also lived in Weagamow
(1963) and in Sioux Lookout. The three are all within 200 miles
of each other, in north western Ontario, between Thunder Bay and
His mediums are acrylic, silkscreen,
watercolor, charcoal, ink, linocut and lithograph. His subjects
are myths, legends, symbolism, native spirits, birds, fish and
animals. His style is known as Woodland Art. It is
identified by black outlined figures, x-ray perspectives, vivid colours
that are compartmentalized similar to stained glass, and usually a
solid color (e.g. white) background. Norval Morrisseau (see
AskART) is considered the innovator of the style. It is
predominantly practiced by members of the First Nations (Indians) of
Canada and the U.S.A. in the regions that border the Great Lakes.
Williams is considered largely self taught. In fact, he
only attended regular school up to grade 8. His art education
consisted of Elliot Lake Summer School in 1970. He is now a
visiting art teacher to schools in his area of Ontario such as Bearskin
Lake, Fort Severn, Weagamow, Pelican Falls, Constance Lake, Fort Hope,
His only noted travel was a 1969 trip to San Diego, California of which he said, "It was like traveling through time."
University (Toronto) had his first exhibition in 1971. Since then
the venues of his solo and group exhibitions have included the Royal
Ontario Museum, Toronto (1974, 76, 77, 83); the Oakville Centennial
Gallery, Ontario (1974); the McMichael Canadian Art Collection,
Kleinberg, Ontario (1978 and 79); and the Art Gallery of Ontario,
Toronto (1984). On October 24, 2009 the McMichael will be opening
an exhibition titled "Woodland School", which will include the works of
His work is in many private collections.
It is also in the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum; the
McMichael Canadian Art Collection; the Canadian Museum of Civilization
(Gatineau, Quebec); New College, University of Toronto; the Woodland Cultural Centre (Brantford, Ontario); and the Thunder
Bay Art Gallery (Ontario).
As an important member of the first
generation of Woodland artists his work is discussed in most magazine
articles and books about the movement. He is also listed in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar; and in Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson.
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke