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Artist Spotlight: Peter Sawatzky

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatsky courtesy of Loch Gallery

Peter Sawatzky is an award-wining Manitoba artist who has earned international recognition for his lifelike bronze sculptures. A country boy raised in Southern Manitoba, Peter’s passion evolved from watching wildlife and birds into a career of carving these animals.

Inspiration for Peter comes from field drawings made during his many years of observing and studying animal movements. These sketches are eventually transformed into life size sculptures that can reach up to 29 feet long. The foundry process—from creating a metal frame to the empty shell being filled with bronze—can take up to a year depending on the size of the piece.

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Peter’s sculptures have become iconic Winnipeg landmarks, like the sculpture of James A. Richardson at the Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, the monument of a mother polar bear and her cubs outside the Assiniboine Park Zoo, or “Seal River Crossing,” which stands at the city’s famed Portage and Main intersection. The impressive statue, which captures a herd of caribou crossing the Seal River, was inspired by a scene Peter saw from above while travelling to Churchill. While on the flight, he started to sketch the caribou and knew he had his next piece. The project, which took four years to complete, was commissioned by James Richardson & Sons Ltd. in commemoration of its 150th anniversary.

In addition to his public art, more than 25 pieces of Peter’s work are on display at the Loch Gallery in May and June.

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