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

Benjamin Chee Chee Life and Legacy exhibition banner image

Benjamin Chee Chee: Life and Legacy

Benjamin Chee Chee (March 14, 1944 – March 11, 1977) lived a rich and full, but tragically short, life. During his four years as a full time professional visual artist in Montreal and Ottawa his work was prolific and disparate, ranging from his iconic Friends and ‘Benji birds’ to his less generally familiar abstracts.

Benjamin Chee Chee: Life and Legacy is the third major retrospective exhibition of Benjamin Chee Chee. The first was held at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery in 1983, upon their acquisition of a collection of 49 paintings and five prints for their new gallery, the Thunder Bay Nation and Exhibition and Centre for Indian Art. In 1991 the Thunder Bay Art Gallery held a second retrospective exhibition. Benjamin Chee Chee: The Black Geese Portfolio was curated by Robert Houle and featured 18 minimalist images of geese, the last body of work created by Chee Chee prior to his death in 1977.

Benjamin Chee Chee: Life and Legacy comprises a comprehensive selection of Chee Chee’s works gathered from galleries and individuals across Ontario. The exhibition presents a personal perspective, achieved through multifarious collaborations, including those with close friends of Chee Chee’s.


Untitled [In Flight], 1977 Acrylic on paper 45.7 x 60.7 cm Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Bert Curtis Benjamin Chee Chee Collection

Benjamin Chee Chee: sa vie et son heritage

La vie de Benjamin Chee Chee (14 mars 1944 – 11 mars 1977) a été remplie mais s’est achevée prématurément. Comme artiste professionnel à Montréal et à Ottawa, il a été un peintre prolifique et a produit toutes sortes d’oeuvres pendant ces quatre années, des célèbres comme Friends et « Benji Birds » et des oeuvres abstraites moins connues.

Benjamin Chee Chee: sa vie et son héritage est la troisième exposition rétrospective majeure de son oeuvre. La première a eu lieu à la Galerie d’art de Thunder Bay en 1983, suite à l’acquisition d’une collection de 49 peintures et 5 estampes pour leur nouvelle galerie, la Nation de Thunder Bay et le Centre d’art autochtone. En 1992, la Galerie de Thunder Bay a tenu une deuxième exposition rétrospective, Benjamin Chee Chee: le portfolio des oies noirs. Robert Houle, le curateur, a mis en vedette 18 images minimalistes d’oies, dernier vestige de la production de Chee Chee avant sa mort en 1977.

Benjamin Chee Chee, sa vie et son héritage comprend une importante sélection de ses oeuvres provenant de galeries variées et d’individus à travers l’Ontario. Cette exposition se veut une perspective personnelle réalisée à partir de collaborations diverses incluant celle d’amis plus intimes.


Untitled [Family In Flight], 1977 Acrylic on paper 45.7 x 60.7 cm Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Bert Curtis Benjamin Chee Chee Collection

Benjamin Chee Chee: Bemahdezewin kuhya Muhgehwaywin

Benjamin Chee Chee (Pahjeebwon Geesis 14, 1944 – Pahjeebwon Geesis 11, 1977) keebemahdezebun gah tebenuhwaweze kuhya o’mooshkenuhaun, kedush kushkaindahgwud tuhquahbemahdezewin. Megwah o’neewo beboonun ezhe mooshkena uhpe gah o’waywengawin wazhebahbundum mazinibee’igewininee Mahneeyahngkaung kuhya Odahwaug, meno o’ahnookeewin keemokinaunawin kuhya pikaunezewin, tesineedjeneeun wainjee o’kekinahwahbandjiganig Weej’keewainug kuhya ‘Benji penahsheezhuk’ minwah o’nahgahdenindjeege mazinechwadigiganun.

Benjamin Chee Chee: Bemahdezewin kuhya Muhgehwaywin suh ako’nesing g’chi ahzhabanahbeewin wahbundah’iwawin owh Benjamin Chee Chee. Netum puhgummeuhyahmuhgud emuh Uhnimekee Weekwayduhn Mahzinechganagamigoong 1983, gah ogeejuhyee odituhnan ewh gashahpidejigan 49 mahzinechiganigun kuhya 5 ketuhgeeginun o’wah oshkee mahzinechganagamig, ewh Uhnimekee Weekwayduhn Ahzheweenzojig kuhya Wahbunda’iwewin kuhya Mahwanjee’idewiggamig ewh Anishinawbe Mahzinechegunig. Uhpee 1991 ewh Uhnimekee Weekwayduhn Mahzinechigunagamig puhgummeuhyahmuhgud dush ako’neezhing ahzhabanahbeewin wahbunda’iwewin. Benjamin Chee Chee: Gah Mahkade Nekug Ningoodwahwaun dush nahgameun owh Robert Houle kuhya wahbandah’ijewinbun 18 puhgukesin mahzinaadinug nekug, ishquauj mahmuhwe ahnookeewin owh Chee Chee noond’j owh kenebowing 1977.

Benjamin Chee Chee: Bemahdezewin kuhya Muhgehwaywin dahgwahim dush chi’kekinah o’nahbandaunah owh Chee Chee’s ahnookeewinun gah mahmiginnang mahzenechigunagamigun kuhya o’wee’ook gah ahzhuhwemin ewh province. Ewh wahbandah’iwewin odenahnaun o’ahyaudwin nisidahwinagwad, oondenegahda zheebuh bahkaninaagwad weesookodadiwaugun, ashidinanun o’wee’ook gah peshoud o’weej’keewainug owh Chee Chee.


courtesy of


this exhibition has been made possible through the generous support of
the Museums Assistance Program, Exhibition Circulation Fund.