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Thunder Bay Art Gallery Acquires “Cell” by Frank Shebageget

January 17, 2019

Artist Frank Shebageget in front of his work Cell

Artist Frank Shebageget in front of his work Cell, 2010, aluminum, nylon fishing net, steel fishing hooks, string, airline cable, 100 × 100 × 100 in.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is proud to officially announce the acquisition of Cell by Frank Shebageget, made possible by the 2018 York Wilson Endowment Award, which is administered by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Made of nylon fishing nets, steel hooks, aluminum angles, and rods, this minimalist work evokes the luminous underwater world of fish and the act of fishing. For Shebageget, the work also recalls his childhood growing up in Upsala, a small, unincorporated community 144 km north of Thunder Bay. There he would spend hours alongside his siblings in his family home untangling fishing nets for his father.

Currently based in Ottawa, Shebageget continues to draw inspiration from the culture and history of Northwestern Ontario. The installation specifically speaks to the regional history while also emphasizing innovative ways of articulating it. Cell uses standard fishing materials and transforms them into an awe-inspiring work of contemporary art.

Of the acquisition, Shebageget states, “I am very proud to have Cell housed in my traditional territory at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. I began art school in 1992, but my art education actually started a few months earlier at the Gallery, with a summer job installing the works of Carl Ray, Benjamin Chee Chee, Edward Poitras, Robert Houle, Jane Ash Poitras, and Daphne Odjig. I am honoured to be amongst the works that helped shape me as an artist.”