Watch video here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/beaver-float-plane-art-1.3548313
Frank Shebageget created 1,692 small, wooden float planes as part of art installation
By Gord Ellis, CBC News Posted: Apr 23, 2016 10:00 AM ET Last Updated: Apr 23, 2016 10:00 AM ET
An Ottawa-based artist with roots in northwestern Ontario says the outdoors has always been a big part of his work.
Frank Shebageget told CBC News that one float plane in particular, called "the Beaver," fired his imagination in such a powerful way that he created a wooden sculpture featuring hundreds of tiny wooden carvings of the machine.
Shebageget said the float plane was a part of his youth, as he grew up in the small northern town of Upsala, located about 120 km northwest of Thunder Bay.
The First Nations artist said the idea for the sculpture came to him one day when he visited the harbour in Victoria, B.C., during a time when he was doing his graduate work and wasn't feeling inspired.
"This Beaver took off right in front of me," he said.
"And if anyone knows bush planes, the Beaver has a certain sound. That's really loud. Guttural. And it took off and it took me back to the north."
Shebageget said that experience was swiftly followed up by the viewing of a documentary on the de Havilland Beaver — and how it was one of Canada's greatest inventions.
He decided the sculpture should include a miniature representation of every Beaver float plane ever built — a total of 1,692 planes.
The sculpture was designed to look different from various distances, he said.
He said he also wanted to evoke a variety of feelings from the people who view it.
"The original idea was I wanted the fleet to look like a swarm of bees," he said.
"From a distance it looks inviting. Up close it can be a little different. A little more intense."
Shebageget's wooden float sculpture is now hanging as part of an installation at the Thunder Bay Art gallery called HOME/works until May 29.
His other solo exhibitions include "Light Industry", Carleton University Art Gallery, in Ottawa, and "Model Life", Surrey Art Gallery, in Surrey B.C. — both in 2010.