The sculptural and installation work of Anishnawbe artist Frank Shebageget recalls a time and place familiar to Northwestern Ontario. Born in Upsala, a small-unincorporated community 144 kilometers north of Thunder Bay, Shebageget’s work details the past history of the region through architectural and dioramic work. The repetitive and precisely made objects often question the promise of development under the veneer of progress: a de Havilland Beaver, an iconic bush plane used to open northern Ontario and transport goods also became linked with the removal of children from communities to residential schools. Similarly, the installation Small Village II evokes the standardized and government issued mining houses that concurrently point to both the forced relocation of Indigenous communities and capitalist ideals of modern living. Stacked vertically, these single family houses also reference the proliferation of condominiums increasingly found in urban centres across Canada. In these works, Shebageget weaves together a complex history of Northwestern Ontario seen through the veil of development and its lasting impact on Indigenous lives. – Nadia Kurd, Curator.
Frank Shebageget graduated with his A.O.C.A. from the Ontario College of Art in 1996, and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria in 2000. Recent solo exhibitions include “Home | works”, Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay ON (2016); “Light Industry”, Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa ON (2010) and “Model Life”, Surrey Art Gallery, Surrey BC (2010). Group Exhibitions include “Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation, Part 3”, Museum of Art and Design New York, NY which toured to the following other venues: Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester NY; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON; Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe NM; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor MI and Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, Indianapolis IN (2012-15). “Native Art Now, New Indigenous Art at NONAM”, Stadt Zurich Nordamerika Native Museum, Zurich, Switzerland (2014); “Before and After the Horizon: Anishinaabe Artists of the Great Lakes”, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, New York NY; and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto ON (2013-14). His work can be found in the collections of the Stadt Zurich Nordamerika Native Museum, City of Ottawa Art Collection, Indian Art Centre, Ottawa Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Dorothy Hoover Library of the Ontario College of Art, and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, as well as several private collections.