Benjamin Cheechee

Native Artist 1944 - 1977

OJibwa artist Benjamin Chee Chee was born in Temagami, Ontario. His father died when he was two months old and he lost track of his mother. One reason behind his drive for success as a painter was his ambition to be reunited with her.

He was a prominent member of the second generation of Woodland Indian painters but unlike many of his contemporaries his style was influenced by modern abstract art.

While most of the young Woodland Indian artists were content to follow the style of the movement's founder, Norval Morrisseau - Chee Chee's style was more minimalist and graphic.

At the age of thirty-two and at the height of success as an artist and printmaker, Chee Chee committed suicide.

Recent Exhibitions

1991 Benjamin Chee Chee: The Black Geese Portfolio, and Other Works.
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Ontario
1983 Contemporary Indian Art at Rideau Hall.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
1982 Glebe Community Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
1977 Marion Scott Galleries, Vancouver, British Columbia
Links to Tradition.
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (travelling)

1976 Evans Gallery, Toronto, Ontario
The Sea Chest, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Inukshuk Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario

1974 Doma II Art Gallery, Waterloo, Ontario
Canadian Indian Art '74.
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario

1973 University of Ottawa, Ontario

Selected Collections

Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Québec
Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario
Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario

Selected Bibliography

Angus, Murray. "Monument marks grave of artist." Windspeaker 15, no. 4 (August 1997): 8, 24.

Burnham, Clint. Review of The Benjamin Chee Chee elegies by Patrick White. Books In Canada 22, no. 5 (Summer 1993): 59-60.

Canadian Museum of Civilization, ed. In the Shadow of the Sun: Perspectives on Contemporary Native Art. Hull, Québec: The Museum, 1993.

Cardinal-Schubert, Joane. "In the red." In Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation, eds. Bruce Ziff and Pratima V. Rao, 122-133. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1997.

Cardinal-Schubert, Joane. Time for Dialogue: Contemporary Artists. Calgary, Alberta: Aboriginal Awareness Society, 1992.

Dempsey, Ian. Review o f The Benjamin Chee Chee elegies by Patrick White. Canadian Materials 21, no. 1 (January 1993): 14.

McLuhan, Elizabeth, ed. Benjamin Chee Chee: Paintings and Prints in the Collection of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Thunder Bay, Ontario: The Gallery, 1984.

Menitove, Marcy, ed. The Permanent Collection: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario: The Gallery, 1986.

Southcott, Mary E. The Sound of the Drum: The Sacred Art of the Anishnabec. Erin, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 1984.

Return to Native Artists