Benjamin Chee Chee 1944-1977
Born in Temagami, Ontario, Ojibway Artist, Benjamin Chee Chee largely taught himself to draw and paint. 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 painters, a Native Art movement that began in the early nineteen-sixties and has since become one of the most important art schools in Canada.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, he painted in a style influenced by modern abstraction. While most of the young Woodland artists were content to follow the style of the movement's founder, Norval Morrisseau, in depicting myths and legends by direct and "primitive" narrative means, Chee Chee pursued a more economical graphic style, a reduction of line and image more in keeping with the mainstream of international modern art.
At the age of thirty-two and at the height of a new-found success as an artist and printmaker, Chee Chee died tragically by committing suicide.