Bruno Bobak was born in Wawelowska, Poland in 1923 and attended Central Technical School in Toronto, Ontario majoring in art.
Shortly after graduating, Bruno joined the Canadian Army as part of the Engineers Corp. The painting he contributed to the Mural is a self-portrait. He became an official war artist after winning an art competition where his wife to be, Molly Lamb, placed second in the same competition.
Bruno later reflected that becoming a war artist may have saved his life, as most of the company he was with were killed on their first day in Europe. Bruno's paintings include scenes from across Europe, where he traveled with the 4th Canadian Armoured Division during the liberation of Europe.
Being a war artist was a job that meant painting everyday, as Bruno said, "There was no way you could not paint, that was what you were paid to do." Bobak's paintings include scenes from France, Belgium, Holland and German as he traveled with the 4th Canadian Armoured Division.
Humans were not the only casualties of war. As Bobak told author Joan Murray, "When soldiers are killed, they're immediately taken away and buried. Nobody bothers with dead animals." The smell and sight of these animals was a shocking experience for Bobak.
From then on he was included in important exhibitions and galleries in Canada, the United States and abroad with opportunity to travel, explore, and broaden his creative experiences. It was during one such study trip to Europe that news arrived of his appointment as artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in 1960.
It was to be only a one-year stay in Fredericton, but it turned out to be a lifetime. From 1962 until his retirement in 1987, Bruno Bobak was director of the UNB Art Centre. He received an Honorary Doctor of Literature from UNB in 1986, and the Order of Canada in 1995. Bruno passed away in Fredericton, New Brunswick on 24 Sepember 2012.
Bruno Bobak's Letter
This is the letter that Bruno Bobak wrote to accompany his painting for the Mural of Honour. It reveals much about his sentiment for war.
"The choice of a blue format was the perfect colour for my feelings about my military career.
It was the perfect colour for me to express my sorrow about solving world problems with violence.
My self-portrait as a young soldier appears as a negative - my true feeling about all wars since."
Bruno Bobak, October 2007