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Eva Stubbs with Chancellor Freedman and Lord Denning, and a bust of Freedman

Eva Stubbs with Chancellor Freedman and Lord Denning, and a bust of Freedman

Remembering Eva Stubbs

December 20, 2017 — 

Eva Stubbs (nee Wolinsky) was born Budapest, Hungary in 1925. Before immigrating to Canada in 1944, Stubbs and her family saw hardship in Europe. She and her family endured the Great Depression, witnessed the violent start of the Spanish Civil War, and experienced firsthand the terrifying rise of anti-Semitism in Hungary, Germany, and Italy. They found relative refuge in the African city of Tangiers while waiting-out the Second World War.

When she was 19, Stubbs, her parents and her brother came to Winnipeg as wartime Jewish refugees.

Eva Wolinsky stands beside the white marble head she chiseled and polished to bring out the contrast of the rough and smooth stone. It’s tombstone marble, she says, and the problem was the rough chipped surfaces; filing, sanding, polishing with acid produces the satin smoothness of the face (1956).

Eva Wolinsky stands beside the white marble head she chiseled and polished to bring out the contrast of the rough and smooth stone. It’s tombstone marble, she says, and the problem was the rough chipped surfaces; filing, sanding, polishing with acid produces the satin smoothness of the face (1956).

In her twenties, while recovering from tuberculosis, Stubbs made the decision to enroll in the School of Art at the University of Manitoba. This process proved to be difficult as well, with the registrar at the time telling her she should be at home with her husband and young child.

Through her persistence, and nearing the age of 30, Stubbs was finally accepted as a mature student. She graduated in 1957, becoming a respected sculptor in an era when only a handful of Canadian sculptors were female.

After teaching high school in Montreal from 1959 to 1963 she returned to Winnipeg where her roots as a sculptor grew deeper.

Stubbs’ work often incorporated the human figure ranging from feminist expressions, technological impressions and interpretations of ancient civilizations and their place in history. Her sculptures portray fragility and people’s ability to endure, having found  homes in art galleries and exhibits in Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, and her native Budapest.

Since the mid-1970s, Stubbs has been one of Winnipeg’s best-known sculptors. She created a number of the bronze busts in the Citizens Hall of Fame at Assiniboine Park, including those of novelist Carol Shields, theatre director John Hirsch and judge Sam Freedman.

In the mid-1980s, she won the commission to produce bronze door handles for the Manitoba Law Courts building. She was also one of the founders of SITE Gallery, open from 1995 to 2005 and elected to the Royal Canadian Academy in 1995.

Stubbs died on December 16, 2017. She was 92.

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