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Newfie Jokes

William Kurelek
Newfie Jokes, 1974
Oil on masonite
137.2 x 106.7cm

Purchased with a donation from the Walter Duncan Gordon Charitable Foundation and a matching grant from the Province of Ontario

William Kurelek was born near Whitford, Alberta in 1927, the oldest of seven children in a Ukrainian immigrant family. Kurelek developed an early interest in the visual arts, much to the dismay of his strict father. He attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, and then moved to England. It was in England during the 1950’s that he suffered what he called ‘a spiritual crisis,’ and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

After returning to Canada, Kurelek converted to Roman Catholicism which had a great influence on his later work. His narrative paintings often featured scenes of domesticity and Canadian life, incorporating everyday imagery with biblical and folk elements.



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