1080 Keewatin St,
Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 6T7

madaabii | s/he/they goes down to shore is an ambitious, large-scale multidisciplinary commissioning art project that draws inspiration from Gichigami (Lake Superior), one of the world’s largest sources of freshwater. This project sought to engage 27 artists to create works that are inspired by the cultural and industrial history, ecology and sacredness of this living body of water.

This unprecedented commissioning project was made possible through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative and will be unveiled as the first exhibition at the New Waterfront Art Gallery at Prince Arthur’s Landing in Thunder Bay.

As we near the end of the commissioning phase details of the artists’ concepts and intent in their works will be gradually revealed over the coming weeks in short, reflective video interviews, here on the Gallery’s website and through our social media channels.


Sharon Breckenridge

For thirty years, she has been collecting and relating with natural materials to form baskets of unusual configurations and uniquely expressive design. Her current work-in-progress for the Thunder Bay Art Gallery’s madaabi project includes five sculptural works. In referencing the majestic Gichigami (Lake Superior), the artist is challenging herself with increasingly large woven constructions.

The richness of texture and colour in Sharon’s sculptural baskets create a graceful sense of flow. Her practiced hands weave waves of fibrous materials to create bold, stable forms evocative in colour, shape, and texture of the multifaceted natural elements that are her constant inspiration.

Check back regularly as we profile more of the madaabii artists

The Artists

The artists selected for this project include a mixture of individuals who consider Northwestern Ontario their home or traditional territory, have previously worked with the Gallery or are regional artists. All commissioned participants are recognized Canadian artists and have contributed to the diversity of our contemporary visual landscape both locally and beyond.

Tim Alexander (Rossport)
Michael Anderson (Lake Helen First Nation/Thunder Bay)
Sonny Assu (Campbell River, BC)
Christi Belcourt (Espanola)
Michael Belmore (Upsala/Ottawa)
Sharon Breckenridge (Thunder Bay)
Elizabeth Buset (Thunder Bay)
Christian Chapman (Fort William First Nation)
Julie Cosgrove (Montreal/Thunder Bay)
Michelle Coslett Goodman (Dryden)
Patricia Deadman (Woodstock)
Damon Dowbak (Kaministiqua)
Shayne Ehman (Thunder Bay)
Ursula A. Johnson (Dartmouth, NS)

Nadya Kwandibens (Sioux Lookout)
Bev Koski (Vancouver, BC)
Jean Marshall (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug/Thunder Bay)
Leanna Marshall (Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug/Thunder Bay)
Roland Martin (Thunder Bay)
Kasia Piech (Thunder Bay)
Walter K. Scott (Kahnawake, QC)
Sam Shahsahabi (Thunder Bay)
Frank Shebageget (Upsala/Ottawa)
Cree Stevens (Thunder Bay)
Christopher Stones (Thunder Bay)
Aaron Veldstra (Thunder Bay)
Cheryl Wilson-Smith (Red Lake)


This is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter initiative. With this $35M initiative, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.

funding provided by