Fonds 144 - Minn Sjolseth fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Minn Sjolseth fonds

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  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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  • Source of title proper: Title is based on the provenance of the fonds.

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Physical description area

Physical description

4 cm textual records
ca. 600 photographs: prints, slides, negatives, and transparencies
12 artworks

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(November 4, 1919 - November 7, 1995)

Biographical history

Minn Sjolseth was born on November 4, 1919 in Oksendahl, Norway. Sjolseth started to draw and paint in early childhood, and began her formal artistic training in Norway and in Germany where she studied the Old Masters. In 1953, Sjolseth emigrated to Canada and continued her studies at the Regina School of Fine Arts with Kenneth Lockheed. She also studied graphic art at San Miguel de Allende Art Institute in Mexico.

Sjolseth settled in Vancouver, BC in 1957, where she opened a commercial gallery and began her career as a portrait artist. During this time, she also had two children, Laila and Fred Johnsen. In 1967 she closed the gallery and focused her artistic practice on documenting Indigenous peoples and their cultural productions in a realist tradition. In 1968, Sjolseth married the photographer and journalist Anthony Carter. Out of their travels to First Nations communities along the coast of British Columbia and Alaska throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Sjolseth produced a number of landscape and portrait paintings as part of her "North West Coast Native" series, while Carter undertook work for his books. In 2009, the Kamloops Art Gallery held an exhibition entitled "Somewhere Between" which explored Minn Sjolseth's and Anthony Carter's artistic partnership during this period.

In 1974, Sjolseth had the opportunity to travel to Arctic Norway and work with the reindeer-herding Lapps (also known as Sami people) to create a series of paintings called "Reflection of Lapland" which was shown at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, among other institutions. In July 1977, she was selected as the only professional artist to be a member of the media accredited to the visit of H.R.H The Prince of Wales to Southern Alberta to commemorate the Centennial of the signing of Treaty 7. Sjolseth's work has been exhibited in juried group shows in Canada and the United States, as well as international solo exhibitions. Her paintings are in several international collections, including the collections of the Crown Prince Harald of Norway.

Sjolseth and Carter moved to the Kamloops area of British Columbia in 1980, first living at Pinantan Lake and later at Lac Le Jeune. She continued painting, creating the "British Columbia Interior" series, while also pursuing cross-country marathon skiing competitively.

Sjolseth died suddenly in a car accident in Lac Le Jeune on November 7th, 1995.

Custodial history

Since Sjolseth's death in 1995, the materials in this fonds have been in the possession of Laila Monika Campbell, Sjolseth's daughter.

Scope and content

The fonds reflects Minn Sjolseth's artistic career and travels to First Nations communities throughout British Columbia and Alaska with her husband Anthony Carter. Contents of the fonds depict First Nations cultures in British Columbia between 1960 and 1980, including Haida, Coast Salish, Kwakwaka'wakw, Gitsegukla, Kispiox, and Nisga'a. Several of the contents depict notable figures, including Chief Dan George and August Jacks.

The fonds includes textual records including correspondence, ephemera, newspaper clippings; graphic materials such as photographs, slides, negatives, and transparencies that depict Sjolseth’s travels and artworks; and artworks produced by Sjolseth including paintings, drawings, and prints.

The fonds is organized into the following series:

  1. Personal records
  2. Artwork an Exhibition records
  3. Artworks

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Materials in this fonds were donated to MOA's Audrey and Harry Hawthorn Library and Archives by Laila and Alan Campbell (Minn Sjolseth’s daughter and son-in-law) in 2018.


Materials in this fonds were donated together with an accrual to the fonds of Sjolseth’s husband, Anthony Carter. For the most part, materials in this larger donation were separated, housed, and identified based on creator. This was likely done by the donors Laila and Alan Campbell. In order to reflect this arrangement and Sjolseth’s individual artistic practice, a distinct fonds was established.

The contents of the fonds arrived in slide carousels, slide boxes, binders, and scrapbooks and were rehoused for preservation purposes. Information about original housing and associated descriptive information was documented. The archivist arranged the fonds into series based on Sjolseth's activities and material types. An inventory of the original accession and original housing has also been created and preserved.

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Restrictions on access

All records in this fonds are subject to the Freedom if Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Some records in this fonds contain culturally sensitive information. Restricted records are noted. Please consult archivist for details.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright to Minn Sjolseth's work is retained by Laila Campbell during her lifetime. Please consult archivist for details about further terms governing use, reproduction, and publication.

Finding aids

Finding aids include series and file descriptions.

Associated materials

Records and photographs related to Minn Sjolseth can be found in her husband Anthony Carter's fonds.

Related materials


No further accruals expected.

Physical description

237 photographs : col. slides ; 35 mm
4 photographs : col. slides ; 6 x 6 cm
22 photographs : b&w ; 35 mm negatives
17 photographs : col., transparencies ; 12.5 x 10 cm and smaller
91 photographs : col. ; 18 x 12.5 cm and smaller
40 photographs : b&w ; 20 x 25 cm and smaller
3 photographs: col., mounted ; 12 x 9.5 cm
1 sketchbook ; 40 x 51 cm
2 charcoal drawings ; 20 x 25 cm
1 intaglio print ; 20 x 25 cm
1 intaglio drypoint print ; 40 x 29.5 cm
1 intaglio print ; 29 x 25 cm
1 pen on tracing paper drawing ; 50 x 45 cm
1 watercolour on illustration board ; 38 x 51 cm
1 charcoal drawing on paper ; 50.5 x 37 cm
3 prints : b&w ; 23 x 34 cm

Alternative identifier(s)

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MOA Object ID

3320/1 a-b

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Created March 2019 by Alexandra Alisauskas.

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physical storage

  • Box: Oversized 33