TO MY FATHER'S VILLAGE: THE LAST DAYS AND DRAWINGS OF WILLIAM KURELEK
Volume 17 Number 1
William Kurelek had a unique ability to transmit tradition and memory. Nowhere is his talent revealed in such poignant clarity as in To My Father's Village, a record in the form of one hundred drawings and six paintings made during a visit to Borivtsi in Bukovyna a few short weeks before his death from cancer in November 1977.
It is a remarkable testament. Kurelek's concern for the land, his respect for the simple implements of rural life, for birds and animals and life inform the taut lines and astringent tone of the sharply observed drawings. The paintings are as powerful as any he ever painted.
The text accompanying the illustrations is taken from letters he wrote to his wife during his first visit to the Ukraine in the summer of 1970, letters that demonstrate his acute eye for detail, his passionate interest in the land of his ancestors, and his impatience with a bureaucracy that restricted his homecoming to a brief four hours.
During that short stay, however, he was able to take some photographs, and they provide additional evidence of the deep meaning he attached to his journey. At one point on his first trip, Kurelek was asked if he was beginning to feel Ukrainian or still Canadian. To My Father's Village makes clear what has been apparent for a long time: Wiliam Kurelek belongs to that rare group of artists whose homeland is universal.
J.E. Sampson, Edmonton Board of Education, Edmonton, AB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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