Indigenous Art Helps Enhance Hospital’s Welcoming Environment

Tracie Smith
Tracie Smith, Senior Director of Communications, Indigenous Affairs and Engagement poses with some of the Indigenous art on display at our Hospital. The pieces, by the late Ahmoo Angeconeb, help to enhance a welcoming environment for Indigneous patients and their families.

Art can serve many purposes. It’s been proven that artwork can be a pleasant distraction from the stress or discomfort that can often accompany a hospital stay. That’s why Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre has adorned the walls with unique and powerful Indigenous artwork. Not only do these particular pieces provide a pleasant visual experience, they also help enhance a welcoming environment for Indigenous patients and their families.

“Indigenous health is one of our strategic priorities and we’re committed to enhancing our welcoming environment for Indigenous patients and their families,” said Tracie Smith, Senior Director of Communications, Indigenous Affairs and Engagement. “Indigenous art is one of many initiatives because it demonstrates respect for the culture and can be a source of comfort and familiarity for Indigenous patients and families.”

Ten pieces on display at our Hospital are by Indigenous artist Ahmoo Angeconeb, whose work is widely collected and exhibited. Born in Sioux Lookout in 1955, Angeconeb was educated at Lakehead University and York University. While his quiet genius was less known in his home region, it has garnered much deserved attention abroad. He had been accorded solo shows in Colegne, Berlin, Munich, Monaco, Paris, Basel, Sante Fe, and Seattle, as well as Toronto, Halifax, London, and Vancouver. His sculptures, ‘Man from the Caribou Totem’, are also on permanent display outside of the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Angeconeb passed away in June of 2017.

The arrangement was made possible through Louise Thomas, a member of our Hospital’s Indigenous Advisory Committee. Thomas runs the Ahnisnabae Art Gallery and is also the widow of the late Roy Thomas, one of the most influential Indigenous artists in Canada. Through the arrangement, the works are on display here for patients and families to enjoy, and available for sale through the art gallery. To learn more about how to purchase the beautiful pieces, please visit

In addition to the artwork, our Hospital is also creating a more welcoming environment by providing cultural sensitivity resources and Ojibwe language lessons to staff and volunteers, free of charge. To learn more about our efforts surrounding Indigenous Health, please visit