Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Northern Nativity - William Kurelek

contributed by Aimee

Ukrainian-Canadian artist, William Kurelek's "A Northern Nativity" is perhaps my favorite Christmas book. The paintings depict various Canadian scenes and people groups that a 12 year old boy imagines the Christ child being born into. "A boy imagines that the nativity takes place in northern snows. He dreams that the Christ child is born to Eskimos, to Indians, to Blacks, that the Nativity takes place in a fisherman's hut, a garage, a cowboy's barn, that the holy family is given refuge in a city mission, a grain barn, and a country school." (from the jacket) There is such detail in the paintings. The Holy family is on the fringe, and usually look cold. Yet there is a sense of stillness and peace. And joy, for those who notice and welcome them. I highly recommend tracking down a copy of this book, from the library or for your own collection.

If you'd like to see more images from the book I found a youtube video of the the images set to music. (click here) It gives you a feel for the paintings, but the book has text that accompanies each painting, so don't miss out on that! Also the National Film Board did a short work on Kurelek, you can find that here if you are interested.


  1. Oh I love Kurelek. I hadn't thought of him in a long while but we had prints of his from a calendar gracing our living room walls when we were newly wed.

    What a great book. Jesus born for all.

  2. I thought I recognized some of his work from our walls! I didn't know that was him.