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Image 01
Northward Bound
Mixed media

George Sawchuk

George Sawchuk was born in 1927 in Kenora, Ontario to a Polish mother and Russian father. A self-taught sculptor, Sawchuk rejected formal education at a fairly young age. He was working with a construction crew when an accident resulted in the amputation of one of his legs, an event that ironically provided him with time to explore his artistic interests.

Instinctively using found materials to create sculptures that interacted with the natural world, Sawchuk was unaware of his connection to previous and current art practice until he met the Baxters, two artists who had founded the N.E. Thing Co. and had moved to North Vancouver. Through his discussions with them, Sawchuk soon carved a place for himself in the art world, creating portable sculptures that could be displayed in galleries and museums, as well as large outdoor pieces.

Sawchuk deploys a personal iconography that functions to convey important social messages. This iconography incorporates images like crosses combined with coins, church steeples with cash registers, and symbols of the communist working class amongst others.

Sawchuk was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1979.