First Name: Blake
Last Name: Debassige
Full Name: Blake Randolph Debassige
Date of birth: June 22, 1956
Place of birth: West Bay, Ontario, Canada
Community / Heritage: Ojibwe
Gallery: Kasheese Studios Art Gallery, West Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada
Debajehmujig Creation Centre: http://www.debaj.ca
Art Media: Acrylic.
Blake Randolph Debassige is an Ojibwe Canadian painter, printmaker, wood carver, graphic artist and exhibition curator. He was born at West Bay on Manitoulin Island, Ontario.
In his youth, Debassige attended a summer school organized by Tom Peletier, the creator of the Manitou Arts Foundation. The Foundation was formed to encourage young people to consider a career in arts. The school counted Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray and Gerald Dokis among its advisors. Other notable students who attended the school included Shirley Cheechoo, Leland Bell and Martin Panamick.
Debassige is a leading member of what is known as the “second generation” of Ojibwe artists influenced by Norval Morrisseau. These artists are often referred to as the “Woodlands School,” though Debassige hesitates to use the term, preferring to see the Woodlands School not as a group movement but as a collective of individuals who have worked with common purpose in an artistically diverse way.
Debassige’s paintings and graphics frequently investigate traditional Anishabek teachings about the nature of cosmic order, the cycles of the seasons, human life, animals, plants and their spiritual role. He frequently relates these themes to such problems as the destruction of the environment, the alienation of native youth and family dysfunction.
Alongside his work as a painter, Debassige is the owner and operator of Kasheese Studios Art Gallery in West Bay, Ontario. He is also a founding member of Debajehmujig and Debajehmujig Theatre Group at Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. De-ba-jeh-mu-jig’ translates as ‘storytellers’ from the Cree and Ojibway language. The Debajehmujig Group is the first and only professional theatre company located on a reserve in Canada. It creates original work based on an Anishnaabag/Chippewa Nation worldview, educates and connects cultures, and supports the development of Indigenous artists in remote rural areas and cities.
Debassige is married to the Cree painter Shirley CheeChoo. Together, they have made significant contributions to the world of film and theatre.
Debassige’s work has been exhibited across Canada, United States and Europe. His work is part of many private and public collections, including the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada; Anishinabe Spiritual Centre in Espanola, Ontario, Canada; The Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa, Canada; Department of Indian and Northern Affairs in Canada; Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada; Ojibwe Cultural Foundation in M'Chigeeng, Ontario, Canada.
- 1980: Anishnabe mee-kun: a circulating exhibition of art by Anishnabe artists of the Manitoulin Island area, Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, West Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada
- 1983: Last Camp, First Song: Indian Art from the Royal Ontario Museum, curated by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery
- 1985: Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
- 1987: Manitoulin Island: The Third Layer, curated by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery
- 1989: Woodlands: Contemporary Art of the Anishnabe, curated by the Thunder Bay Art Gallery
- 1991: Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada
- 1996-1997: The art of the Anishnawbek: three perspectives, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- Riverwest Artist Association Centre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
- The Ontario Legislative Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- The Ethnographic Museum of Budapest, Budapest, Hungary
- The United Nations Art Collection, S Hills Village, Pittsburgh, USA
- The National Museum of the American Indian–New York, NY, USA
- The Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
- McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada
- Ojibwe Cultural Foundation, Manitoulin Island, M'Chigeeng, Ontario, Canada
- Anishinabe Spiritual Centre, Espanola, Ontario, Canada
- The Assembly of First Nations, Ottawa, Canada
- Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Ontario, Canada
- Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada
|Title||Last Sold At Auction|
|BEAR WITH CUBS||2012-07 (July 2012)|
|MAN FLOATING||2011-07 (July 2011)|
|UNTITLED (FIRST FLIGHT)||2019-11 (November 2019)|
|BIRD OF LIGHTNING||2011-12 (December 2011)|
|BIRD OF PREY BY BLAKE DEBASSIGE||2013-01 (January 2013)|
|HUNTER OF THE MARSH||2015-09 (September 2015)|
|NORTH WIND - HALF-MAN THING||2011-02 (February 2011)|
|SHAKING PARTRIDGE||2011-07 (July 2011)|
|STUDY FOR THE PATH OF LIFE MURAL||2014-01 (January 2014)|
|THE SICK WOMAN||2015-03 (March 2015)|
|UNTITLED (BIRDS IN CONFLICT)||2015-01 (January 2015)|
Recent Auction Results
Estimate: 300 — 400
Sold: Nov 2019 — Sold For: $660
Estimate: 300 — 400
Sold: Sep 2015 — Sold For: $276
Estimate: 500 — 700
Sold: Mar 2015 — Sold For: $1,140
Estimate: 500 — 700
Sold: Jan 2015 — Sold For: $492
Estimate: 2,000 — 3,000
Sold: Jan 2014 — Sold For: $1,800
Estimate: 75 — 125
Sold: Jan 2013 — Sold For: $60