This fall, with generous support from the York Wilson Endowment Award, the Thunder Bay Art Gallery welcomes 11 mixed-media paintings into its collection. The paintings are from the series “Ziibaaska’iganagoodayan – The Jingle Dress,” by acclaimed Fort William First Nation artist Christian Chapman.
The works of art are bright and bold images of Anishinaabeg Kweug (Anishinaabe women) who are wearing their jingle dresses. These screen printed and acrylic on canvas pieces revel in Warholian colour and composition. Each dancer has her hands on her hips, staring into the camera with confidence and purpose. The women in the portraits are Chapman’s friends, family, and fellow artists.
“I’d like to thank the kweug who trusted me to create this body of work. These paintings have become a family. Keeping them together is a blessing,” says Chapman. “Chi-miigwech to the York Wilson Endowment Award. I’d equally like to thank the Thunder Bay Art Gallery for their efforts in acquiring the work.” By keeping this series of paintings in Thunder Bay, the Gallery aims to honour past, present, and future generations in the community.
Christian Chapman (b, 1975) is of Anishinabe heritage. He creates two-dimensional mixed-media artwork that fuses elements of painting, drawing and printmaking. The act of storytelling has been an important part of his life: it has informed him of his culture by shaping his identity, personal experiences, and worldview.
“Chapman’s portraits are full of life, colour, and undeniable power. Bringing a series of this magnitude into our collection is important and exciting. We felt strongly about keeping Christian’s works in Thunder Bay, and we’re grateful and proud to do so,” says Penelope Smart, Curator. The gallery will exhibit the series in 2023.
The York Wilson Endowment Award enables Canadian non-profit art museums and public art galleries to purchase original works by living, contemporary Canadian painters and sculptors. The endowment was established at the Canada Council for the Arts in 1997 to honour the contribution of Canadian painter York Wilson (1907-1984) to the field of visual art. This is the second time the Thunder Bay Art Gallery has been awarded the York Wilson Endowment Award.