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July 18, 2023
THUNDER BAY — The artwork of Fort William artists Helen Pelletier and Christian Chapman were celebrated on June 23 during the opening of their exhibitions, which run until Sept. 17, at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. The Helen Pelletier: Wiigwas Manidoog Descendants exhibition features a range of birch bark works, including etched baskets, objects, garments and accessories, and the Christian Chapman: Ziibaaska’iganagoodayan – The Jingle Dress exhibition features 11 Jingle Dress paintings of friends, family, and fellow artists.
“There’s baskets, there’s skirts, there’s a canoe, there’s different items, mostly [made from] a lot of winter birch bark,” Pelletier says. “Winter birch bark has a cambium left on it which allows me to etch a design on the baskets or whatever item I’m making.”
Pelletier says she began creating the birch bark pieces in September 2022.
“For me, a lot of time is preparing and making the baskets,” Pelletier says. “My goal was to have them ready for the gallery at the beginning of June.”