Like the Last Snows of Winter

Bob Boyer, 1991

Like the Last Snows of Winter (1991) by Bob BoyerCanada Council Art Bank

Bob Boyer’s artwork is influenced by traditional Plains Cree Indigenous design. His highly symbolic paintings act as a reminder of the devastation brought on to Indigenous People through colonialism.

Boyer uses repetitive and symmetrical geometric shapes, triangles, diamonds, squares. Each represent an aspect of Plains Cree Indigenous life or worldview. The ‘E’ is a frequent symbol in his work, it symbolizes horses’ legs.

The central diamond shape suggests a rider’s saddle and blanket, together, referencing the Plains warrior and horse.

The stepped pyramid is another important reoccurring shape in his work, in his use it symbolizes Indigenous spirituality.

The inverted triangle implies the Indigenous world flipped upside down.

Boyer’s titles shift the meaning of the work away from purely formal reading to an understanding, often creating a ‘themed place’ or ‘symbolic landscape’.

Boyer writes about Like the Last Snows of Winter (1991), “On the Prairies the Buffalo was the great provider to the Indian world. When the herds were decimated in the late 19th century, it spelled the end of the way of life to the Métis and Indians. The dried-up Buffalo bones could be seen piling up through the black earth, shining white in the sun, just like the last few tufts on the snow left over in the spring.”

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