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Allen Sapp

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      JULY/AUGUST 1988      INDIAN ART SUPPLEMENT p11  
Allen Sapp
Allen Sapp
Summer Pow-Wow At Piapot, Sask.
"Summer Pow-wow at Piapot, Sask."
Oil on Board
24" x 36"

Allen Sapp is one of the foremost painters in Canada today. His art provides a window to view life on the reserve in Northwest Saskatchewan, as it did during the time Allen was growing up in the 1930's and '40s. His paintings depict men cutting wood in the cold prairie winter; Allen's grandmother drying moose meat and preparing hides; a woman pounding chokecherries into mash to make pemmican; dancers dressed up for the pow-wow celebration.

Allen Sapp was born on the Red Pheasant Reserve in 1929. A Cree descendant of Chief Poundmaker, he was given the name KisKayetum (He-perceives-it). He was a frail child suffering from the effects of meningitis which prevented him from going to school. But because of his confinement he explored other means of expression, and taught himself to sketch and draw.

In November, 1975, Allen Sapp was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in recognition of his outstanding achievement in the field of visual arts.

On December 5, 1985, Allen Sapp was one of the first eight recipients of the Saskatchewan Award of Merit, given in recognition of individual excellence and/or contributions to the social and economic well-being of the province and its residents. In January, 1987 the Governor-General of Canada appointed Allen Sapp an officer of the Order of Canada, given as a means of recognizing outstanding achievement and honoring those who had been given service to Canada, to their fellow citizens or to humanity at large.

"Summer Pow-Wow at Piapot Sask" was completed last summer following the pow-wow celebration at Piapot, and it features Allen Sapp dancing. The pow-wow is of course, a most important part of the Plains Cree culture and Allen enjoys participating in as many pow-wows as he can throughout the year.