Carl Ray 1942 – 1978
Carl Ray was born in 1942 at Northwind Lake, the youngest of five children. Northwind Lake was the site of the Beren’s River Mine where his parents, James and Maggie Rae had settled to make a living at laboring jobs. The Ray’s were members of the Caribou Clan.
Mr. Ray was an important and dynamic member of the Woodland Artists. Carl Ray died in 1978 in Sioux Lookout, Ontario.
In a brief ten years of active painting, Carl Ray was one of the bright stars of a group of aboriginal painters call The Woodland Artists. The other popular members of this group were Jackson Beardy, Daphne Odjig, Norval Morrisseau , Joshim Kakegamick and Roy Thomas. All these artists were enjoying success and fame, but Ray had his own unique graphic style when compared with others. Ray’s visual animations of Cree legends move with a freedom….he transfers so much power, even aggression, to his images that all of them look like they are on fire.
Carl and his family moved too Sandy Lake Reserve in Northwestern Ontario when the Beren’s River Mine closed. Carl was sent to McIntosh Residential School when he was 8 years old. His father passed away in 1956 and Carl returned home to Sandy Lake to take care of his mother. He was 14 when he completed grade 6 at the residential school.