Visions from the Wilderness: The Art of Paul Kane
Catalogue Number: CIN019
Subject: Arts, Biography, Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Documentary, First Nations Studies, History, Indigenous Peoples, Social Studies
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin: Canada
Running Time: 48:00
This one-hour documentary profiles the fascinating and paradoxical life of North American landscape and portrait artist Paul Kane. A mix of art, history, and exploration, Visions from the Wilderness: The Art of Paul Kane examines the conflicting opinions about the historic and artistic value of Kane’s artwork
In 1846, Paul Kane hitched a ride west via the fur-trade brigades to document what he believed to be the last remains of Native North American life “untainted” by European influence. However, when Kane returned to his Toronto studio in 1848, he largely embraced the Eurocentric idea of the “Noble Savage” in both the romantic paintings he produced and the book he published about his travels. By exploring the life and work of Paul Kane, this documentary shows how Kane’s art was shaped by his mentors, his patrons and his passion.
Narrated by the acclaimed North American native actor, Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves), the documentary brings to life Paul Kane’s epic journey and his later struggle as a society artist using readings from his published book juxtaposed with dialogue from the “real” Paul Kane. This narrative is illustrated with spectacular scenics of the route Kane travelled, dramatic re-creations, Kane’s romantic oil paintings and the authentic pieces Kane sketched in the field. Inter-woven are interviews and personal stories from a variety of people along Kane’s route including curators, historians, artists, and descendants of his own family and the native people he sketched and painted.
Award winner: Columbus and Worldfest Film and Video Festivals