Aba Bayefsky

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Aba Bayefsky
Born(1923-04-07)April 7, 1923
DiedMay 5, 2001(2001-05-05) (aged 78)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Aba Bayefsky, CM (April 7, 1923 – May 5, 2001) was a Canadian artist and teacher.

Bayefsky was born to a Jewish family in Toronto, Ontario, the second son of a Russian-born father and a Scottish-born mother.[1] He studied at the Central Technical School. During his teens, he attended classes at the Children's Art Centre of the Art Gallery of Ontario, where he was encouraged by such artists as Arthur Lismer, Erma Sutcliffe, Dorothy Medhurst, and A. Y. Jackson. He later studied at the Académie Julian.

Bayefsky enlisted in the RCAF in October, 1942, and was made a Flight Lieutenant. He was appointed an official war artist in December, 1944, assigned to depict airborne operations over north-west Europe. He made several paintings of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.[2]

After the war, he was an instructor at the Ontario College of Art. In 1958, he joined the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1979, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, Bayefsky maintained an interest in tattooing and produced a series of portraits of tattooed people from Toronto and Japan.[3]


  1. ^ "Holocaust art of Aba Bayefsky". Canadian Museum of History. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  2. ^ Celinscak, Mark (2015). Distance from the Belsen Heap: Allied Forces and the Liberation of a Concentration Camp. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 9781442615700.
  3. ^ Jelinski, Jamie (Spring 2018). ""An Artist's View of Tattooing": Aba Bayefsky and the Tattoo Scenes of Toronto and Yokohama, 1978–86". Journal of Canadian Studies. 52, No. 2: 451–480 – via Project MUSE.

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