Daphne Odjig was born September 11, 1919 in Wikwemikong on Manitoulin Island (Ontario, Canada). Her father was a descendant from the great Potawatomi chief Black Partridge. Her mother was an English war bride. The Odjig family came to Wikwemikong when several of the Potawatomi migrated north after the war of 1812 and settled on Manitoulin.
Odjig has been quoted as saying that she "was born with a paintbrush in her hand" and that she lived for Friday art class at school. However, she felt that the instructions given to her by her teachers were rigid, as she was encouraged to paint in the realist style, while she desired to paint how she felt instead.
Odjig soon experimented with different styles, including realism, cubism, and abstract expressionism. She touched on impressionism and was also influenced by Northwest Coast art and the Woodland school, a style originally attributed to Norval Morrisseau. However, Odjig has said that she does not consider herself to be part of the Woodland school in that it primarily concerns itself with a spiritual quest, while her works emphasize sense of family and the importance of womanhood.
Daphne Odjig is a highly accomplished artist. Her works have been featured in museums around the world. She has been the subject of books, documentaries, magazine articles and theatre plays. Amongst her many achievement awards are appointments to the Orders of Canada and British Columbia. She is also a recipient of the Governor General's Laureate, Visual and Media Arts; Canada's highest honour in the field of visual arts.