The works in the gallery’s Permanent Collection tell many stories. Traditional and innovative pieces by both established and emerging artists have come to the gallery over time.
From the beginning, the focus of the collection has been work by contemporary Indigenous artist. The Gallery collected its first painting in 1981, beginning what is now a collection of over 1600 works of art. Paintings, drawings, and photography, sculpture, beadwork, fine craft and art installations comprise this rich collection. Represented are Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island and artists from Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario.
The Thunder Bay Art Gallery staff and Board are proud that the cultural, social and artistic value of the collection is widely recognized across Canada and beyond.
A Future Collection.
In 2022, The Thunder Bay Art Gallery became the first public gallery in Canada to commission and collect an NFT. Bakwene Makwa, which translates in “a smokey bear” in Ojibwe is a new commission by Quinn Hopkins and Blake Angeconeb for Thunder Bay Art Gallery. This work was minted as an NFT in 2022 and is now part of our Permanent Collection for generations to encounter and share. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token. An NFT represents real world objects such as art, music, comics, videos, and gaming assets. They are bought and sold online, most often with cryptocurrency.
Carl Beam, Exorcism (detail), 1984 mixed media on plywood; acrylic, barbed wire, arrows, hatchets on plywood, 213 × 610 cm (83 7/8 × 240 3/16 in.)
Our Permanent Collection is home to significant works by major Canadian artists. In 1984, the Gallery commissioned its first-ever work by artist Carl Beam (1943-2005). Exorcism (1984) which is 20 ft in length is a significant piece by the artist and remains a large part of our Collection’s history.
The Gallery continues this history with a major commissioning project Madaabii for the occasion of the opening of the New Waterfront Facility.
Contemporary meets traditional.
Strawberry Basket, Black ash splint, dye, 20 × 11 cm (7 7/8 × 4 5/16 in.)Collection of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, From Our Hands Collection, Gift of the Ontario Government, 1985
Did you know our collection includes a wide variety of media that reflect traditional craft practices including basketry, hide garments, beadwork, quillwork and more. This beautiful Strawberry Basket in the shape of a wild strawberry by artist Maime Migwans (1925 – 2000) is a visitor favourite.
Representing the region.
Every exhibition, every project contributes to the Gallery’s history and its influence in the broader artistic community of our city, region, and country. As we prepare for the creative possibilities of the new art gallery on the waterfront, we are committed to doing more – to leveraging our collection and our cultural connections.
Image left: Michele Coslette Goodman, An Unkindness of Ravens, rubber, wood, wire, fibrefill, 2009.
Image centre: John Books, “Thank God it’s Friday!” Crusoe Exclaimed., wood; fibre; metal; bone, 2004.
Image above right: Chris Stones, Chop Canadian, metal, wood, leather, 2009.
The Gallery attempts to make all reasonable efforts to identify, properly cite, and contact copyright holders. In some cases these could not be determined/traced.
If you are the holder or administer rights for materials published on this website, or held in our collection: