My name is Jeffrey (Red) George (Ma-Mi-No-ga-boo) and I am an Ojibway artist. I was born in the year of 1980 and come from an artistic family. My mother, grandmother, uncle, brother and sister, and cousins are all artists (painters, sculptors, crafters, beaders, and musicians).
I had a difficult time in my early years, growing up on the lands of the First Nation of Kettle and Stoney Point, situated along the shores of Lake Huron in Ontario, Canada. However, over the years, I have overcome a variety of challenges that have impacted me.
I saw a sketch one time when I was little. I must have been about 7-or-8 years old. It was a sketch of a native face, an Elder with long hair, with a separate a face on either side. There were feathers and circles and the way it was done, in the Native Style of drawing, sparked my interest . . . I too wanted to draw, not knowing then that it would also become therapeutic. It has helped me, in a positive manner, in overcoming some of my most difficult encounters in growing up; it has helped me to express my feelings and thoughts and has been a great outlet in helping me transform into a better person.
Later I discovered that I had a gift to draw. In my teenage years I drew a lot with pen and ink, markers, oil, pastels, and charcoal. I was 18 when I was first introduced to acrylic paints. It took me a while, like all things in life, to get used to acrylics and how to mix the colours and how to apply them to a canvas to create a beautiful vision. A masterpiece requires a certain amount of genius.
To initiate a vision, I connect my mind with my heart and the process begins. With imagination opening the spirit of creativity that I get from a higher place. And when I paint, I see many colours of the rainbow. All colours of plant life. All colours of the animal kingdom. Colour resurrects a dark sketched canvas and breathes deeply to give it new life. Once this happens, I believe it makes people “feel” and with that I begin to feel mentally, emotionally and spiritually – Mind, Body and Spirit all connecting, uniting with vivid fine lines and the strokes of my brush. Each painting guided by the ancestral tradition and painting in the Woodland style influenced by Norval Morriseau. With the beat of the drum and ancient chants, my paintings have the ability to bring life and happiness, with peace and healing, to someone’s home, or to their heart.
I do conduct Artist’s Workshops on occasion, they are called Paint Nights, where community residents come and gather to learn to paint, socialize and hear the stories of Nature. These participants range from the young to the elderly. I may teach them how to paint an animal like a Snowy Owl or a Bald Eagle. It is a step-by-step process and I have fun teaching these people how to paint. I have also gone into local elementary and high schools to share my art, to teach and to educate. One thing I enjoy the most is how the creative arts can bring people together and how indigenous art is related to so many legends and the stories they tell. Stories give power. Stories inspire.
My work reflects my culture and its blessings, along with its inner pains and suffering. My journey through life has led me to my native culture and traditions and the place where I am honoured to share my heart and soul through my artistic gifts of painting and my music with the Native Flute.
Jeffrey is an internationally renowned artist whose work hangs in many private homes and public galleries throughout North America and the world. His environmental activities with the Port Franks Optimists gained him a Good Neighbour award in 2019.
Ma-Mi-No-ga-boo: He who stands with the light of the Creator.