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There Are No Fakes

Norval Morrisseau (Copper Thunderbird) is arguably the most influential Indigenous artist in Canada, often referred to as the founder of the Woodlands style. After spending $20,000 at a reputable Toronto gallery to purchase Spirit Energy Of Mother Earth, Kevin Hearn (of Barenaked Ladies) was surprised to find that the authenticity of his Morrisseau canvas was being called into question.

Poster for the art-fraud documentary There Are No FakesHearn's subsequent decision to sue the art dealer spurs an investigation into the painting’s provenance, and results in the unravelling of an art fraud ring with numerous fighting factions, all claiming to be the true protectors of the Anishinaabe painter’s legacy – and all of whom happen to be white.

Dealers, investors, experts and artists vigorously defend their interests in an investigation where culture and commerce collide. Questions of authenticity, appropriation and exploitation underlie a devastating story about a visionary artist’s work caught between worlds. As the legal case proceeds, shocking new revelations emerge, detailing damages that spread far beyond the canvas.

– Alexander Rogalski, Hot Docs

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