Aba Bayefsky

Aba Bayefsky

Aba Bayefsky was born in Toronto Ontario in 1923. He studied at The Central Technical School in Toronto from 1937 to 1942. The following year he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he was commissioned as an official war artist in 1944.

As a war artist Bayefsky produced a massive body of works providing a visual record of The Belsen Concentration Camp and related themes. Much of his work from this time can be viewed at The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario. He also spent time in the displaced persons camp in Italy in 1947. Further travels included trips to India, Japan, and a year of study in Paris, France in 1948. 

Bayefsky has worked with charcoal, watercolours, and oils. Throughout his life he also received commissions for a number of large-scale murals. He also created a number of lithographs based on Canadian Native American legends and mythology (‘Forces of Earth and Sky’) as well as a series exploring Hebrew religious themes (‘Tales from the Talmud’).

Throughout his career, Bayefsky art mostly focused on the depiction of the human figure. Later in life he completed a large series of paintings depicting tattooed people in Canada and Japan. It was also common for him to create works depicting market scenes. 

Bayefsky began exhibiting his art in 1941. He had more than fourty-two solo exhibitions and his work can be found in major public and private collections across Canada and internationally. 

In 1957  Bayefsky became an instructor at The Ontario College of Art until 1988.  

In 1958, he joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1979, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Bayefsky died in Toronto, in May 2001.