Benjamin Chee Chee
|Benjamin Chee Chee|
March 26, 1944|
Temagami, Ontario, Canada
|Died||March 14, 1977
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Movement||Woodland School of Art|
Benjamin Chee Chee, (born Kenneth Thomas Benjamin) was a Canadian artist of Ojibwa descent. He was born at Temagami, Ontario on 26 March 1944; and died in Ottawa on 14 March 1977. His early life was troubled and he lost track of his mother, who he spent many years searching for. He moved to Montreal in 1965 where he developed his love of drawing, and moved back to Ottawa in 1973.
Chee Chee's first exhibition was held in 1973 at the University of Ottawa. Soon after he gained fame as he developed his unique style of clear graceful lines with minimal colour of birds and animals giving sense to emotion and movement. Though his art featured a great deal of iconography often used by Canadian First Nations artists, Chee Chee had denied his art had symbolic meaning. He instead referred to the animals featured in his art as "creatures of the present". He also specifically referred to himself to an Ojibway artist, as opposed to allowing himself to be categorized under the broader net of simply an "Indian" artist.
After finally finding his mother and achieving success as an artist, he committed suicide in an Ottawa jail. Benjamin Chee Chee was buried in Notre Dame Cemetery in Ottawa, Ontario. His work has been exhibited posthumously throughout Canada.
- Evans, Alvin L. (2004). Chee Chee: A Study of Aboriginal Suicide. McGill-Queens University Press. ISBN 978-0773526877.
- Lerner, Loren R.; Williamson, Mary F. (1991). Art and Architecture in Canada. U Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0802058560.
- Matuz, Roger (1998). St. James Guide to Native North American Artists. The University of Michigan. ISBN 978-1558622210.
- "Native artist Benjamin Chee Chee". www.native-art-in-canada.com. 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2016.