CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 7 . . . . November 29, 2002
The story of his arduous childhood as the son of Ukrainian immigrants is told sparely and succinctly. His paintings from his award-winning books like A Prairie Boy’s Winter (Tundra, 1973) reveal the details of his childhood in Alberta and Manitoba. Later William struggled with depression. He entered a hospital in London, England, that treated patients by encouraging them to draw and paint their fears. Several black and white drawings from this period are reproduced in this section. After returning to Canada, he met Jean Andrews, and they married and settled in Toronto. Kurelek painted many “message” pictures in which religious experiences are depicted. His most ambitious project was the Passion of Christ. He also had a special empathy for depicting the lives of immigrants and Canada’s minorities. A number of these paintings are reproduced in the book. Kurelek achieved success internationally and by the publication of numerous thematic art books of his illustrative works for children and adults. A chronology of Kurelek’s life and a bibliography of his books are also included. Cutler also cites gallery collections and sources of further information on the artist.
This handsome and elegant biography gives readers insight into the life of a man who struggled to “break free” and achieve his own personal vision of art and life. This powerful story will be of interest to anyone interested in Canadian art and is highly recommended for school and public library collections.
Lorraine Douglas is the Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library in Winnipeg, MB.
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