Common Place

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outdoor installation, pastoral setting, cow, bull and calf, urban meadow, viewer pleasure, nature reminders, urban life, realistic cow sculpture, realistic animal sculpture, traditional prairie roots, prairie culture, influence of fine art world on contemporary artists, impressionists, imagery, Teevo, “petite veau" - Teevo, bronze, installation, calf, prairie culture, petite veau, urban meadow,

Three of Joe Fafard's sculptures, from the MacKenzie Art Gallery collection, are part of an outdoor  installationAn art work specially designed to fit in or to make use of a specific type of space. It usually consists of more than one element and relates to the space in which it is displayed.  on the grounds of the Wascana Centre, adjacent to busy Albert Street in Regina, Saskatchewan. A pastoral setting is created by candidly placing a cow, a bull and a calf upon a landscaped urban meadow. Driving down the busy street, viewers are reminded of nature and a quieter more serene place free of the hustle and the noise of daily urban life. Fafard presents realistic sculptural cows doing what cows naturally do and his audience is reminded of the traditional roots of prairie culture.

As a young child naturally I was discovering the world and the world was our farm, and it was the animals, and it was the people of the community, and it was the work and also the play. -- Joe Fafard

The cow and the bull are named after historical painters who Fafard admires, Suzanne Valadon and Paulus Potter. Paulus Potter was a seventeenth century Dutch artist who painted rural life and animals and was influential in developing the  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  of  imageryAn image is a picture, idea, or impression of a person, thing, or idea; or a mental picture of a person, thing, or idea. The word imagery refers to a group or body of related images. (  that Fafard uses in his work.  Suzanne Valadon was a woman artist in Paris during the  ImpressionistImpressionism is a movement in painting in which importance was placed on depicting momentary shifts in light and colour, giving an impression of a scene rather than a detailed account.  years and she learned to paint while modelling for some of the male artists of that period.  She received much acclaim during her interesting life and was best known for her strong and vital depictions of the female nude. 

The calf's name was the suggestion of a student, from one of a number of schools involved in raising money to purchase the work. The students entered a contest to name the  sculptureA three-dimensional work of art, or the art of making it. Such works may be carved, modeled, constructed, or cast. Sculptures can also be described as assemblage, in the round, and relief, and made in a huge variety of media. A sculptor is one who creates sculptures. (  and one proposal was chosen. The suggestion was based on the French language words “petite veau”.  Translated the words mean “small cow”. The name Tivo was originally conceived as an amalgamation of the two French words, but the organizers of the contest were afraid the name would be constantly mispronounced so they changed the spelling to Teevo.

additional resources Farm Background and Observation
Duration: 2:28 min
Size: 10492kb
How He Came to Regina as a Teacher and a Sculpturer
Duration: 3:16 min
Size: 14480kb
Interview with Timothy Long - Funk Art and the Regina Clay Movement
Duration: 3:35 min
Size: 15193kb
On Commissioned Work
Duration: 1:11 min
Size: 5074kb
On Critics, Commercial Success and not Compromising Your Art
Duration: 1:28 min
Size: 6519kb
The Common Place
Duration: 3:42 min
Size: 16646kb
Valadon Potter and Teevo
Duration: 3:06 min
Size: 13825kb
Things to Think About
  • When asked to speak, the student who won the naming contest thanked everyone for listening to her. Have you ever experienced the inability to express your voice?
  • Will the changed name Teevo (from Tivo) take away from the true meaning of the name? Have you ever met someone who has an original name? Why would parents want to give their child a unique name?
  • Many young people use a shortened version of writing to communicate with their friends using cell phones and the Internet (for example, ig2g for “I got to go”, ttyl for “talk to you later” and lol for “laughing out loud”). What do you think might eventually happen to language if we continue to use these short cuts throughout our lives?
  • In Teevo, Fafard celebrates birth and new life.  Have you ever seen and held a new baby?  What factors make us want to celebrate new life? 
Studio Activity
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Joe Fafard observed many animals while growing up on the family farm and he uses these experiences and knowledge when sculpting his cows, horses and other animals.

  • Do you have chores to do with your family?

Design an animal

Design a new animal or monster creature by combining various characteristics from a number of animals.

  • Make your newly designed animal from clay.
  • Fire and decorate your creation.
  • Select a new name for the animal/monster by combining the names of the original animals.


  • Cut out the outline and the spaces between the lines.
  • If you want the work to stand, use a stronger material as a backing.

Respect for animals

Joe Fafard has great respect for the animals and the people he sculpts.

  • Visit an animal shelter and while at the shelter, make drawings or studies of the animals.
  • Later, develop these studies into poster designs to communicate a message on the theme of respect for animals.

Heath, Terrence.  ‘The Accessible Innovator.’  Border Crossings, Summer, 1990.  Retrieved from the Internet on September 2, 2008 from:

Joe Fafard’s Official Homepage.  Retrieved from the Internet on September 2, 2008 from:

National Gallery of Canada.  Joe Fafard.  Retrieved from the Internet on September 2, 2008 from:

Scappatura, Angela.  ‘Prime Ministers and cows - part of Joe Fafard exhibit at National Gallery.’  Maclean’s, February 12, 2008.

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning