Remembering Joe Fafard

The new Running Horses by Joe Fafard


For more than four decades, Joe Fafard crafted beloved sculptures of the people, places and animals that coloured his Canadian prairie life. As Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Canada, I was privileged to have the chance to work with him on several occasions, most recently when he came to Ottawa to oversee the reinstallation of his impressive work Running Horses, on permanent view along Sussex Drive. His works, acquired by the Gallery over a forty-year period, are some of the most treasured in the national collection.

Fafard’s unique vision was rooted in his personal history and commitment to working in Saskatchewan, and this is reflected in the sculptures he created. Born in Ste. Marthe in 1942, he became a multiple award-winning sculptor credited with reinvigorating the medium in Canada. His portraits of people and animals are imbued with a real sense of personality. By revisiting familiar subjects – like horses – he continued experimenting with materials and searching for new meaning.

For his remarkable and memorable contributions to Canadian art, he will be greatly missed.


Joe Fafard's aluminum sculpture Running Horses  is on permanent view at the National Gallery of Canada. To share this article, please click on the arrow at the top right hand of the page. Share this article and subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest articles, Gallery news, exhibitions and events, and to learn more about art in Canada.​

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