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Robert Aller

Robert Aller was born in Dauphin Manitoba. The youngest of nineteen children, Aller grew up on a farm, and early in life developed a love of nature. Aller’s first creative endeavour was a photograph of the farm, which he took from the roof of his house when he was ten years old.

At the age of twenty, Aller studied at the Vancouver School of Art, where he won a scholarship. He travelled to Montreal, and studied for five years with Arthur Lismer at McGill University. Aller continued to accompany Lismer on his sketching trips to the West Coast after leaving the school.

At McGill, Aller won a second scholarship, which took him to Sweden. From there, he travelled to New York City to visit the city’s galleries and museums, and accepted a job as an art teacher at the YWCA. He also began a long career as a public speaker. In 1970, he presented a twenty minute lecture on First Nations art to the United Nations, and received a standing ovation.

Aller first began working with First Nations communities in 1958. More an artistic guide than a teacher, Aller provided creative materials and encouraged his students to follow their intuition. He learned many traditional First Nations arts and crafts, such as weaving and jewelry making, which he taught to people of all ages. He most enjoyed working with children, whose curiousity and spontaneity matched his own. Throughout the years, Aller received invitations to visit native settlements in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.


Exhibitions and Presentations
1995 Robert Aller: A Gift of Art
Rollin Art Centre, Port Alberni, British Columbia
1979 Saskatchewan Teachers of Indian Students Conference
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1975 International Meeting of the Americas Indian Arts,
Crafts and Education
Calgary, Alberta
1970 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural

National Arts Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
1969 University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canadian Society of Art in Education
Winnipeg, Manitoba

  British Columbia Provincial Museum
Victoria, British Columbia
  Canadian Association in Support of Native Peoples
Toronto, Ontario
  Royal Ontario Museum
Toronto, Ontario
1960 Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Victoria, British ColumbiaTelevision Productions

Television and Video

1974 A Place for Everything
C.B.C Television
30 min. Educational Video
A history of the Plains Indians, their arts and crafts.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
1971 Wikwemikong (By the Bay of the Beaver)
C.B.C. Television
30 min. Educational Video on teaching painting
and sculpture to First Nations children.
Toronto, Ontario
1970 The Indian Child of the North
C.B.C Television
10 min. Video
Paintings from classes conducted by Robert Aller
Toronto, Ontario
1960 The West Coast Indian Child
C.B.C. Television
20 min. Video
Paintings from classes conducted by Robert Aller
Vancouver, British Columbia



Canadian Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Central Cree and Ojibway Crafts (Ottawa: Indian and Northern Affairs, The National Museum of Man, 1974).
A book of photography in nine volumes for Information Canada.