Thunder Bay Art Gallery is the proud recipient of $375,000 in funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, provided under the New Chapter initiative, Director Sharon Godwin announced today.
The generous award will be used to commission 25 Indigenous and Canadian artists, inviting them to celebrate Lake Superior through new artistic works. The interpretive pieces are to be completed by the Gallery’s anticipated opening in 2019-2020 at its new location on the city’s waterfront.
“We called this large-scale commissioning project, ‘madaabii,’ an Ojibway word which expresses the idea of of going down to the shore,” explained Ms. Godwin. “The Gallery is taking an important step forward with our planned move to the waterfront. The commissioned works will help to express the excitement we feel about the move.”
Curator Dr. Nadia Kurd added, “These artworks will spur conversations about the many dimensions of Lake Superior. The artists will use their various artistic approaches to respond to the social, political and cultural significance of the lake and its shoreline.”
Local, regional and national artists, both established and emerging, will receive commissions. Selected artists include Jean Marshall and Roland Martin (Thunder Bay), Frank Shebageget (Upsala/Ottawa), Christian Chapman (Fort William First Nation), Cheryl Wilson Smith (Red Lake), Patricia Deadman (Woodstock), Sonny Assu (Campbell River, BC), and Ursula A Johnson (Dartmouth, NS), among many others.
“Our permanent collection has grown through significant donations and purchases over the years. This is the first time we have been able to initiate a focused commission that will yield such a significant number of new works. It will reinvigorate the collection in exciting ways,” Dr. Kurd said.