Aanikoobijiganag: Beading Symposium

Logo features original beadwork by Cher Chapman. Digitization by Krysta Furioso.

Thunder Bay Art Gallery Presents:

Aanikoobijiganag: Beading Symposium

February 8 – 10, 2024

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery presents the first-ever beading symposium in Northern Ontario. A 3-day gathering of beadwork experts and enthusiasts, from February 8 – 10, 2024 in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Aanikoobijiganag: Beading Symposium is a public event that coincides with Radical Stitch, one of the largest beadwork exhibitions ever presented. It celebrates contemporary works by Indigenous bead artists of North America.

The word Aanikoobijiganag is an Anishnaabemowin term that speaks of creating new links and connections. This gathering is designed for participants to learn new skills, develop knowledge and techniques, while connecting with fellow professional beaders, artists, curators, and other makers. Through community this event seeks to highlight the rich talent and joy of beading and craft practices in Northern Ontario, with a focus on skill-sharing and honouring traditional knowledge.


Beading is Belonging.

Thunder Bay is a regional hub for beading. One might understand this region as the heart of Anishinaabe or Ojibwe floral. A gathering of beaders, crafters, artists, curators, and leaders in contemporary craft-based practices in Thunder Bay acknowledges and celebrates the flourishing beading community. The history of beadwork prominent to this region includes many accomplished Anishinaabe and Métis bead artists from surrounding First Nation communities, including Fort William First Nation and fly-in reserves. This is an exciting time for contemporary Indigenous beadwork.

This event brings community together through beadwork. The 3-days of programming includes hand-on workshops, artist panels, talks, curatorial conversations, public receptions, drop-ins, demos, and beading circles to grow public interest and understanding of northern Ontario artists, traditional craft practices, and Indigenous lifeways.

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Radical Stitch

This beading symposium runs parallel to the exhibition, Radical Stitch, on display at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery from October 13, 2023, to March 3, 2024. Radical Stitch is one of the most significant exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous beading across North America ever presented and is organized and circulated by the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Curated by Sherry Farrell Racette, Michelle Lavallee, and Cathy Mattes.

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Opening Night Curator Panel Live Stream:

On February 8, 2024, from 7:30 to 9:00 pm following the public reception there will be a live stream of a panel discussion with the curators of Radical Stitch, including co-curators Sherry Farrell Racette, Michelle LaVallee, Cathy Mattes, and more, hosted on Youtube. Register here for a reminder.

Youtube Live Stream: @ThunderBayArtGallery


Photo: Caitlyn Bird

BYOBeading Nites

Continuing in 2024 the Gallery will also be hosting BYOBeads: Beading Nite, a series of open studio craft nights inspired by the incredible contemporary works of Radical Stitch. Free and open to the public.

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Land Acknowledgement

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery acknowledges their occupation on the territory of the Anishinaabe peoples of Northwestern Ontario. They work and live on the lands of the Fort William First Nation who are signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850.

The Gallery also recognizes the presence of the Métis and Inuit peoples in the area, and pays respect to elders – past, present, and future – for they hold the memories, culture, and traditions of their people.

The Gallery recognizes the many contributions Indigenous peoples have made, both in shaping and strengthening this community, province, and country.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery pledges to continue to build, strengthen, and honour the relationships with Indigenous peoples in the community. Embracing the roles and responsibilities in a national reconciliation process, they are committed to making the promise and the challenge of Truth and Reconciliation real in their Northern community.


About the Thunder Bay Art Gallery

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is the largest public art gallery in the region. Founded in 1976, the Gallery has more than 1600 works of art in its Permanent Collection and hosts over 45,000 visits each year.

The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is undergoing their most ambitious transformation yet, as it prepares for the move to a beautiful new 44,000 ft² gallery, designed by architects Patkau and Brook McIlroy with landscape architecture by Janet Rosenberg & Studio.

Accessibility: The Thunder Bay Art Gallery is Accessible, including a level entrance for access to enter our single level facility; an accessible washroom and, wide and unobstructed pathways within the interior.

Subscribe to the Gallery’s newsletter to learn more about their programs or reach out on social media for more information:
Website: theag.ca
Email: info@theag.ca
Instagram: @thunderbayartgallery
Facebook: @thunderbayAG
X (Formerly Twitter): @THEAG33

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