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Carved Figures

Curated Submission
Fenwood, Saskatchewan
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
Materials & techniques
Wood; Carved
Made by Victor Humeniuk
Saskatchewan Western Development Museum WDM-1975-S-324, 325
For Ukrainian immigrant Victor Humeniuk, his home near Fenwood, Saskatchewan, was a lonely place. Humeniuk was near middle age when he left his native country sometime around 1930 for a new life in Canada. A private and solitary man, he had only his memories – of family and a special woman friend – for company. Perhaps pining for his lost love, in 1936 Humeniuk acquired some good-sized poplar logs, took out his knife, and began to carve. Two figures eventually emerged: one an image of the woman he had left behind, and the other his own likeness. Humeniuk dressed the male figure in his own clothes. Neighbours said that he trusted his carved friends more than he did other people.
Humeniuk was married briefly in the 1960s, but the relationship did not last. Alone again, he died in 1976. Before his death the two figures were parted. Humeniuk gave the male figure to his neighbours, the Matichuks. “We used to keep it on the porch, and people would get scared because he looked so real,” Bill Matichuk recalled. The Matichuks decided to give the figure to the Western Development Museum.

Humeniuk had entrusted the female figure to his step-daughter, Olga Wilk. In 1976 Wilk had the same idea as the Matichuks and, unaware that its companion was already there, donated the female figure to the museum. “I guess we were just thinking about the same thing,” commented Wilk. “It’s good that the two are together.” United again, they now tell their poignant story of separation and lost love.
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