- Nation: Dene
John Sabourin is a carver and painter, originally from Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories (NWT). After his graduation from the Victoria College of Art in Victoria, British Columbia in 1999, he decided to devote himself full-time to his art. Now living in Yellowknife, John works in both stone and paint. In stone, embraces his Dene culture by interpreting motifs inspired from stories and legends. With paint, he considers humankind’s relationship with nature. Inspired by the wildlife in his traditional territory, John considers how the mythic elements of a place continue to make meaning in today’s world.
John’s most recent body of work "Dream Invaders” depicts how a cast of characters, primarily raven and eagle, invade his dreams and drive his creative efforts. The swirling imagery of these dreams is captured as ravens, eagles, foxes and wolves interact with human images in several of these compositions. They are dreams frozen in time yet filled with dynamic energy and movement.
These visual representations of dreams and oral history allow Sabourin to impart the wisdom of his elders and ancestors through his own imagination, and humour. The forces of nature, the wind sweeping up snow or dust into rotating spirals, creating intricate patters on the landscape, are also omnipresent in his work, placing man as part of the landscape of the earth. Dream Invaders was presented as a solo show at the renowned Inuit Gallery in Vancouver.
John feels privileged to work towards something he cares about so deeply, and enjoys sharing his art and knowledge with others. He has taught carving workshops at the prestigious Haliburton School of Art in Ontario (2011), and across the territory including Yellowknife and Inuvik at the Great Northern Arts Festival. John has been interviewed by local and national news media including News/North, A.P.T.N. and Global TV; he has also been featured on C.B.C. Artspots.
John has exhibited extensively and continues to build a loyal following with collectors and galleries.
John was chosen to represent the NWT at Canada’s Northern House, during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. In 2013, he showcased at the National Arts Centre’s Northern Scene in Ottawa, and in January 2015, John was once again selected as a featured master carver during NWT Days and Winterlude Festival in Ottawa, the Nation’s capital.