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Philip Aziz

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Philip JAF Aziz April 15, 1923 – September 13, 2009 was a Canadian artist He lived in London, Ontario, and was of Lebanese Greek Orthodox Christian descent He was recognized for his work in the technique of egg tempera-en-gesso panel, a method popular during the Renaissance

Contents

  • 1 Early years
  • 2 Later years
    • 21 2000s
  • 3 Death
  • 4 Awards and honours
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading
  • 7 External links

Early years

Aziz was born in St Thomas, Ontario, before moving to London, Ontario, at an early age

He grew up in old South London and attended HB Beal Secondary School, enrolling in its arts program Aziz graduated from Yale University with a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1949 He next travelled the world, living alternately in New York City and London, Ontario, where he resided in his now heritage-designated home, also the site of his studio and art gallery

From 1947 to 1949 Aziz was an art instructor at Yale University and a lecturer at various colleges and museums throughout Canada and the United States From 1950 to 1955, Aziz lectured at the University of Western Ontario UWO, teaching art and art history as well as helping to expand the collection at UWO's McIntosh Gallery He was UWO's first official artist in residence in 1953 In 1972 and 1976, Aziz was the artist in residence and lecturer at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in Aspen, Colorado

Aziz painted commissioned portraits of Ontario's Progressive Conservative Premier the Honourable John Robarts, Governor-General Georges Vanier and Mrs Vanier, noted Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh, and mezzo-soprano opera star Risë Stevens

In the late 1950s Aziz was commissioned by John Christopher Cody, London's seventh Catholic bishop, to transform the former Sacred Heart Chapel in London's St Peter's Basilica into Christ the King Chapel and design the interior of the Lady Chapel

Later years

In the early 1970s Aziz successfully fought for the retention and refurbishment of the historic old Court House and Gaol at the Forks of the Thames River in London, Ontario, and developed a plan for the redevelopment of the river forks, which attracted support and attention from Premier John Robarts, the then London South MP John White, author Pierre Berton, and TV and radio station owner, and newspaper publisher Walter J Blackburn Aziz's redevelopment plan lost by one vote at London City Council, but many of his ideas were implemented in 2005–2006, with the completion of the multi-staged, multimillion-dollar 'Forks-of-the-Thames Project'

Aziz established the Philip Aziz Foundation of Art, a non-profit charity in London, to expand his gallery, built in 1967 as his Canadian Centennial project

2000s

On June 2, 2006, at Museum London, Aziz unveiled his egg tempera-en-gesso painting Follow Me, a tribute to the late Pope John Paul II The unveiling occurred during an Alumni Western event, a gala attended by several hundred University of Western Ontario alumni, and members of the local media

On September 11, 2006, in council chambers at city hall and on behalf of the City of London, Aziz presented Academy Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Paul Haggis with his painting Celestial City, completed in 1974 The day had been named Paul Haggis Day, and the city announced that a future park in southwest London would be named in Haggis's honour

On October 21, 2006, during the Islamic Centre of Southwestern Ontario's annual feast following the holy month of Ramadan, Aziz unveiled his egg tempera-on-gesso-panel and 24-carat gold leaf work titled the Tree of Lebanon, completed as a humanitarian fundraiser for relief efforts in Lebanon The painting is mounted on a five by three foot panel of Lebanese cedar Five hundred full-size colour prints signed by Aziz were sold for $1,000 each The painting was to be displayed at the UN headquarters in New York City, after which it was to hang in the presidential palace in Lebanon

On November 29, 2006, London International Airport unveiled Aziz's twelve by seven foot egg tempera painting Epilogue, completed in 1976 Aziz had agreed to loan the painting to the airport for three years

Death

Philip Aziz died on September 13, 2009, after a 10-year battle with cancer

Awards and honours

In 1968 Aziz was invited to the Republican and Democratic national conventions He took a side trip to Texas, where then-Governor John Smith made him an honorary admiral in the Texas Navy

On October 20, 2005, the London Free Press published two special sections called 150 People Who Define London Mr Aziz was included at No 30

Philip Aziz Avenue, which runs through the University of Western Ontario campus, is named for him

References

  1. ^ "Alt London with Eclusive Paul Haggis Photo" altlondonorg 2011 Retrieved 9 November 2011 
  2. ^ Kathy Rumelski, Artist lauded for scope of work The London Free Press Retrieved on September 16, 2009

Further reading

  • Aziz, a critical profile, London, Ontario; New York, New York, September, 2003
  • Aziz's talent still flying high, by reporter Kathy Rumelski, The London Free Press, November 30, 2006

External links

  • Philip Aziz Web site
  • Heritage designation of Aziz's home

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