Teachers Lesson Plans

Joe Fafard


Great Grand Father, Joe de Corby immigrates from France to Canada.


Joe Fafard is born in Ste. Marthe, Saskatchewan September 2, 1942.


Father, Léopold Fafard, buys the local general store and post office.


Fafard family home receives electricity.

Home from school: Joe driving "le pony" and Bernadette with a lunch pail. © Joe Fafard


  • In the winter of 1957 a fire burns down the family home, general store and post office. Fafard notes that the fire was the end of his childhood. In the fire all of his encyclopedias, which provided him with access to images of art works, were destroyed. He did not see images of international artists work again until high school where he encountered the master works by Raphael, Michelangelo etc in text books.
  • Attends high school at Welwyn (1960?61) and St. Lazare (1957?60, 1961?62). In St-Lazare Sister Anastasia, a teacher in the school, saw that Fafard had artistic leanings and aptitudes. Sister Anastasia supported the young Fafard's growing interest in art. She arranged for him to have art materials and a make-shift studio in the furnace room of the school and also to have his work shown in a local Café. Further to this, she encouraged him to apply to art school.


Studies art at the University of Manitoba School of Art in Winnipeg, and graduates with a BFA. Fafard recalls that Professor George Swinton encouraged him to see the world with fresh eyes, to look deeper and beyond what is presented to what is implied.


Studies art at Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania, and graduates with an MFA.

Fellow graduate students from Penn State. From left to right: Ranjan Sen Gupta, Richard Calabro, Joe, Raphael Martin. Photo taken in 1967 © Joe Fafard


  • Begins teaching pottery and sculpture at the School of Art, University of Saskatchewan, Regina.
  • Fafard attends an Emma Lake workshop with Donald Judd.

At the University of Regina cafeteria Photo by John King, c. 1968 © Joe Fafard


  • Fafard meets artist David Gilhooly, at the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. Gilhooly's work and his approach to his artistic practice provides Fafard with a new vision for his own artistic practice.
  • First son, Joël, is born.


First daughter, Misha, is born.


  • Moves to Pense, Saskatchewan.
  • Fafard sculpts his first miniature portrait of the 107 year old father of his friend Alley Haynee a caretaker at the Art College in Regina


  • Father, Léopold Fafard, dies.
  • Second daughter, Gina, is born.

Home in Pense. Back row: Susan holding Gina; front row, from left to right: Misha, Joe, Joël and the dog, Sardine © Joe Fafard


  • Fafard is featured in the film I Don?t Have to Work That Big (National Film Board of Canada). The film is screened on December 13, 1973 on the CBC, as part of the prime time series on Western Canada called The West Show. The documentary focuses on Fafard's family, life and work as a means to investigate the small town of Pense, Saskatchewan.
  • Fafard is included in a group show Trajectories organized by the department of Foreign affairs. The show traveled to London, England and Paris, France.
  • Pensée an exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery curated by Philip Fry opens and tours to the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan, the Glenbow-Alberta Museum in Calgary Alberta, and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Vancouver, British Columbia.

At the Pense coffee shop, 1973. From left to right Bruce Ferguson, Joe, Philip Fry. © Joe Fafard


Resigns from the School of Art, University of Saskatchewan, Regina.

Pense village people, 1973. From left to right: Hugh McGillvary, George Smith, Gerry Seal, Joe. © Joe Fafard


Fafard signs with his first art dealer; Martha Landsman, owner and operator of Montreal based Espace Cinq Gallery.


  • Fafard signs with Douglas Udell owner and operator of The Downstairs Gallery, in Edmonton, Alberta.
  • Fafard, Vic Cicansky, Russ Yuristy and David Thauberger are commissioned by the Saskatchewan Arts board to create a work to be displayed at the Olympics in Montreal. The Olympic Grain Bin the outcome of their collaboration, was an actual granary which was transformed into a "temple of art" which displayed work by Saskatchewan folk artists.


Receives the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal.


Edmonton Art Gallery exhibition, Joe Fafard, travels across Canada visiting 10 sites


  • Teaches sculpture, winter semester, at the Art Department, University of California at Davis.
  • Fafard attends E.H. Gombrich set of lectures on art and illusion, which leads him to experiment with depth and play with illusion and suggested space in his sculptures.
  • Fafard begins to study the life, work and writings of Vincent Van Gogh.


Named an Officer of the Order of Canada.


  • Fafard begins to investigate the process of creating bronze sculptures.
  • Fafard submits the proposal for The Pasture, and wins the Toronto Dominion Bank commission for a public work on their downtown Toronto plaza.
  • Fafard rents out his Pense house and moves his family to Regina, Saskatchewan. Fafard maintains his Pense studio.


  • Installs The Pasture in Toronto.
  • Purchases and renovates a foundry in Pense and carries out the first pour.


  • Mother, Julienne Fafard (née Cantin), dies.
  • Receives the Architectural Institute of Canada's Allied Art Award.
  • A Large-scale solo show of Fafard's work, Cows and other Luminaries opens at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and travels to the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan.


Receives honorary doctorate from University of Regina, Saskatchewan.


Late 1980's - early 1990's - Casting at the foundry is done by traditional methods, which is lengthy and involves an elaborate production of molds.


Late 1980's - Mid 1990 -

  • Fafard experiments with the bronze casting process to produce work more efficiently and economically.
  • Fafard experiments with traditional bronze casting processes leading him to develop a method of casting which enables him to create "drawings in space"; cast sculptures which when seen from the side appear abstract yet when faced head on appear to be three-dimensional representational sculptures.
  • Fafard, deep in a state of experimentation, continues to bend traditional methods of casting and develops the "lost reed method of casting" in which he uses reeds as the basis to form molds. The narrow flexible reeds provide him with the opportunity to begin to experiment with the casting of bronze furniture.


Separates from Susan Wiebe.


Meets Alyce Hamon.


Joe's third daughter, Solenne, is born, to Alyce.


  • Purchases land northwest of Regina, "the farm," on which to build a house and studio.
  • Fafard travels to New Mexico to learn about the "silicon shell casting" method. Mastery of this technique provides him with greater efficiency and creative opportunity at the foundry.


  • Fafard is approached by the Mclaren Art Centre in Barrie, Ontario to participate in a project, which eventually becomes Against the Grain: The Field Horse Project created in partnership with the International Plowing Competition. The project was a drawing of a plow-horse, designed by Fafard, grown in grain on a fifty-acre field. The drawing grew into fruition in time for the plowing match in 1997. The grains grown as part of the crop were donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency matched the donation four to one. At the end of the project over $75,000 of crops were donated.
  • Fafard has a major solo show, Joe Fafard the Bronze Years at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


Joe's second son, Julien, is born, to Alyce.


Marries Alyce Hamon.


Receives the Saskatchewan Order of Merit.


  • Receives the Prix Montfort.
  • Subject of the documentary Joe Fafard: Sculpter les Origines (PRB Media Productions).


Subject of the documentary Joe Fafard: Shaping Art (Cinéma 3180).


Receives Lieutenant Governor's Saskatchewan Centennial Medal for the Arts.


Joe Fafard, a retrospective organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada opens in Regina, Saskatchewan. This exhibition, a survey of the artist 40-year career will travel across the country visiting the provinces of Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

At home Boggy Creek. From left to right: Alyce, Joe, Julien, Solennephoto by Patricia Holdsworth, August 2006 © Joe Fafard