Tell Me About The Olden Days
Me About The Olden Days by Dan Sawatzky, Chemainus, British Columbia. Painted
in 1988, it is now displayed on a free standing wall facing East Main Street
(Former HRDC Building), 50' by 20'. Sawatzky's mural illustrates the arrival
of immigrants in Welland about 1910 and the story associated with those
times. While painting it, the artist encouraged children to participate
in his mural and provided them with permanent souvenirs of the experience.
The mural is filled with hidden names and initials of the children and
people who helped him.
this mural, I sought to tell the story of a grandfather telling his grandson
of what it was like, how they came and of people he met when he arrived
as an immigrant to Southern Ontario. Painting outdoors with constant contact
with people gives me the opportunity to show the public that the artists
are ordinary people too - friendly, hard working, normal people. It is
a change for me to travel and see Canada and meet Canadians. I think it
helps me the rest of the year when I do studio work. People usually comment
how fast I do a mural - but I find they are like a good book - and I find
myself putting in a long, long hours because I can't put it down 'til I'm
done. Murals are fun!"
Virtual Guide's Comments
is another example of "painterly realism," a substantially accurate rendition
but with enough personal touches by the artist to differentiate the work
from that of a Robert Bateman or Glen Loates. Multiple perspectives permit
the grandson (and us) to experience "the olden days" from several viewpoints
that span decades. We get both an overview and detail as well. The detail
suggests that, for Grandfather, the memories are vivid. These are the stories
of the old man's life and there is gravity in his manner as he passes the
traditions to the future generation. He describes the arrival in Welland
of what to him were technological marvels as well as tender memories of
the friends of his youth.
the Artist: Dan Sawatzky, Chemainus, British Columbia
has been a professional artist for 26 years and is self-taught. He is well
known for his pen and ink drawings and has a way of whimsically fixing
images of our heritage in time. Dan's main objective in his art is preserving
the everyday, humble objects, which are so much a part of our heritage.
can be justifiably called a "marketing man's dream" and his arrival in
Welland provided an extra measure of excitement to attract further attention
to the mural project. He has completed more than 20 murals across North
America. Dan's experience in Chemainus changed his life. He and his family
had intended to use their time there as a kind of working holiday, but
in 1984, they decided to move to the town permanently. Dan soon made his
mark in his adopted community and opened his own "Showcase Gallery." In
1987, he moved into the international market by taking the opportunity
of painting murals in Steubenville, Ohio and Pacific County, Washington
- projects inspired by the Chemainus Festival.
artistic repertoire includes works in egg-tempera and acrylics, and he
has also become involved in producing commercial artwork such as logos,
book covers and airbrush murals.
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