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Top sculptor Joe Fafard creates life-like replicas of Emily Carr and her animals

Lifelike sculptures of people, cows and fowl have taken over the main floor of Emily Carr House — evidence that one of Canada’s top sculptors has moved in.
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Sculptor Joe Fafard stands beside his piece Emily 1904, part of a new exhibit.

Lifelike sculptures of people, cows and fowl have taken over the main floor of Emily Carr House — evidence that one of Canada’s top sculptors has moved in.

Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard created and assembled the works for Emily and Her Menagerie, a tribute to the famed Victoria artist and the animals she loved.

The show and sale of more than 40 pieces opens today and runs daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. until June 16 at 207 Government St.

“It is basically an homage by the amazing Joe Fafard to Emily Carr, her love of animals — which matches his — and really his interpretation of how she inspired him to create these amazing sculptures,” said curator Jan Ross.

Fafard expressed a desire to his son Joel to mount a pop-up exhibit in Victoria — preferably close to Emily Carr House.

The folks at Carr House learned of the idea and offered their premises.

Fafard is an Order of Canada recipient, known for his experimentation with sculptural forms.

Growing up on the Prairies inspired Fafard to create images of animals such as cows and horses in a way that has captured imaginations across the country.

In 2008, the National Gallery of Canada hosted a retrospective of his work, which attracted 36,000 visitors.

Among the works featured at Emily Carr House are three sculptures of Carr, as well as one of her infamous monkey, Woo. They range from small, steel laser cuts to a life-size bronze sculpture of Carr riding a horse.

“We do have a few of his watercolors, but otherwise it’s pretty much all sculptures — from the very small to a five-foot rooster,” Ross said.

While Emily Carr House has occasionally hosted artists, Ross called the Fafard exhibition one of its “greatest highlights.”

asmart@timescolonist.com