Stryjek, Dmytro

Image - Dmytro Stryjek (1981 photo). Image - Dmytro Stryjek: A Nun. Image - Dmytro Stryjek: Portrait of Lev Dobriansky.

Stryjek, Dmytro [Стриєк, Дмитро], b 5 November 1899 in Lanivtsi, Borshchiv county, Galicia, d 7 March 1991 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Naive painter; one of the most prominent primitive artists in Canada. A resident of Canada since 1923, he began painting seriously after his retirement in 1965. After moving to Saskatoon in 1967, he began exhibiting and attracted the attention of curators and art historians, most notably Peter Millard. His subjects include landscapes, flowers, birds, and religious and historical events, often those remembered from his youth in Ukraine. His portraits include some famous Ukrainians, such as Taras Shevchenko, Lesia Ukrainka, Hetman Ivan Mazepa, Symon Petliura, and Cardinal Yosyf Slipy, and world leaders, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Indira Ghandi, John Diefenbaker, and Pierre Trudeau. Although Stryjek has lived most of his life in Canada, his vision is deeply rooted in his Ukrainian environment and the Ukrainian community in Saskatoon. His paintings are astonishingly inventive and hauntingly lyrical (eg, the series ‘Hill of Flowers’). A brilliant colorist, Stryjek achieves a freshness that seems inexhaustible, and challenges accepted ideas of untutored painting as separate from mainstream art. Peter Millard’s monograph Stryjek: Trying the Colors (Saskatoon, 1988) was published in conjunction with a cross-Canada traveling exhibition of Stryjek’s paintings.

Daria Zelska-Darewych

[This file was updated in 2007.]

Image - Dmytro Stryjek: Portrait of Canada's Prime Minister John Diefenbaker.

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