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OCAD U mourns passing of influential Indigenous artist Thomas Vernon Hill

Thomas Vernon Hill

Photo courtesy of The Hamilton Spectator.


The OCAD University community is deeply saddened by the loss of Thomas Vernon Hill on November 11, 2023, at the age of 80. Hill graduated from the Ontario College of Art (OCA), before it became OCAD U, and was a member of the OCAD U Indigenous Education Council.

Visitation will take place on Nov. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Styres Funeral Home at 1798 Fourth Line Rd., Ohsweken.




Thomas Vernon Hill was an influential artist, curator, art historian, mentor, author, playwright and performer. He grew up on the Six Nations Reserve at Brantford, and was Konadaha Seneca, Six Nations Confederacy.


Hill graduated from OCA’s Communication & Design program in 1967. He was a member of the OCAD U Indigenous Education Council from 2008 to 2018, when it was known as the Aboriginal Education Council.


He began his career as a champion of First Nations arts at the Expo '67 Indians of Canada Pavilion. In 1970, Hill was appointed coordinator for the Indian Pavilion at Osaka in Japan. He went on to work at the National Gallery of Canada, the federal government and the Woodland Cultural Centre to curate numerous ground-breaking exhibitions and author countless papers and books. Hill was also one of the chairs and principal authors of the 1992 Taskforce on Museums and First Peoples.


Hill received many awards including the Order of Ontario in 1993, honorary fellowships from the Canadian Museum Association and OCA, the Governor General's Award for Visual and Media Arts, and an honorary doctorate from Wilfred Laurier University.



The Hamilton Spectator

University of Lethbridge

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