Michael Belmore


Michael Belmore, is an Ojibway artist, born in Thunder Bay, Canada in 1971. From a young age, Belmore, began creating art based around the past and future ideas of the environment. Along with that he bases many of his art pieces around his relation to the Anishinaabe tribe. Growing up, Michael Belmore attended the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. He received his associates degree in sculpture and installation in 1994. Later on in his life completed a masters degree in fine art at the University of Ottawa in 2019. He currently lives in Ottawa, Canada and contains to create art displaying the effect our relationship with the environment has made.

A key theme throughout Michael Belmore’s art is “how we view nature as a commodity.” For over several years, he focused on creating pieces that revolved around the uses of technology and how it has greatly affected the relationship we have with our environment. Dedicating his art to environmental factors has impacted Belmore’s life greatly. Due to his ideas and inspiration to work with a variety of media including plastics, metal, wood, and stone, Michael Belmore has become an internationally recognized artist.

“Seemingly small things, simple things, inspire his work; the swing of a hammer, the warmth of a fire, the persistence of waves on a shore. Through the insinuation of these actions, a much larger consequence is inferred.”

Michael Belmore, Landing II
This piece is a hammered piece of cooper relief sculpture, carved with stone and silver leaf
Michael Belmore, Somewhere Between the Two States of Matter


Similar to most of Belmore’s art, he creates his pieces with a hidden, and deeper message. Somewhere Between the Two Steps of Matter, is a simple piece that is filled with fire beneath its true meaning. At first glance you’ll see a few stones lined up neatly in front of glass, hanging from the wall. Yet, the longer you stare and understand more about this piece, you unravel the secret stance of resistance and protection that take place. Michael Belmore created this in order to portray the true rebellion and violence that occurs throughout society. He lined up the stoned in order, and directly in front of glass. The glass takes the role as a glass shield; holding itself together as a statement for the powerful and powerless. We are faced with the choice to throw the rock at the shield. We are given the choice to transform an inanimate object into a weapon. This decision no longer is small and harmless, it shows blurred boundaries, and links the responsibility for potential violence or justice. The glass shield tempt the stones, while the stones stand waiting on the shields.

“Stone once liquid, once fire, ebbed and flowed like raging water beneath the islands from which we build our lives.” – Michael Belmore 

“Another interesting part about in nature is that you are creating balance and no matter what we do, we are part of nature. It does in a way, we’ll find we are not balanced. So, it’s a matter of balancing nature and balancing extinction. This planet has witnessed it (extinction) many times before, and it will do it again. And I think one of the important things in our… understanding of the world is that we are one of many beings. We are not more important than this planet.”
Michael Belmore, Burn, 2015

Existing in Space, Sites, and States of In-Between

Along with following certain views, and hidden meanings throughout his work, Michael Belmore, also incorperates aspects following his Anishinaabe tribe. Diving into his spirituality, Belmore, acknowledges the power that stands in between the states of being “in-between.” Throughout his series, Burn, he creates art displaying the powers of the in-between. Michael Belmore finds stone and imbeds red copper into them. He creates a fiery reflection, bringing attention the light that is within the in-between. He finds his stones along the shore of Lake Superior, native to his tribe. His copper, a usually forgotten metal, is believed to be the blood from two manitous. These creatures are found throughout their territories, and unable to live without one another. Belmore is careful to balance these two opposing powers together, while allowing them both to stay in motion. Anishinaabe culture believes mskwi, blood, must free flowly. It flows between realms. Between earth, water, sky, and continues to embody the contrasting forces that lays between life.

Creates the visible animacy of the multi-layered Anishinaabe lands.

“Copper for us is the blood of our, sort of, manitous or sky spirit, both the sky spirit and water spirit. They’re both are, sort of, important to us.”
Michael Bellmore, Landmarks, 2017

The Aspects of Landmarks

  • It is a sculpture made up of four parts
  • The sculpture contains six stones
  • Each stones weighs between 300 to 1,200 pounds
  • They are all inlaid with copper
  • They are situated to frame the vast distance between the boundary of Laurentide Ice Sheet, Saskatachen into the Hudson Bay in Churchill, Manitoba
  • Each meeting point of the stones correlate to ancient shorelines, trade routes, mass migration of animals, and forced displacement of people
  • His goal was to create a connection between the geological time of stones and the human development of labor
  • He used copper in order to invest the stones with labor and value
  • The stones are perfectly fit with each other, revealing the coppers reflective light
  • It is a reminder for how everything starts from the ground and returns to it

Sculpting of stones

Finished products