Noboru Sawai BA, MFA, ASA, PDCC, LAPS (1931 – 2016)

Noboru Sawai was born in Takamatsu, Japan and spent his early childhood years in and around his birthplace. In 1946, while working as a cook's assistant at the U.S. military headquarters, Noboru studied English with an American GI who would forever change his life. As a result of this friendship, Noboru was able to travel to the United States to study at the Lutheran Bible Institute. However, shortly after his arrival, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent the next nine years at a TB hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Once he was discharged, Noboru moved to Minnesota to resume his studies, first at Augsburg College, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1966, and then at the University of Minnesota, where he received his Master of Fine Arts in 1969. In 1971, he moved back to Japan to study traditional woodblock printmaking with Toshi Yoshida at the International Hanga Academy in Tokyo. Later that year he joined the University of Calgary Art Department, where he taught printmaking and drawing for the next 22 years until he retired. Noboru also established a printmaking studio in Vancouver where he worked to develop his technique of combining the Japanese method of woodcut printmaking with the intaglio techniques of printing from etched copper plates. He was internationally known for making erotic art, using imagery from diverse time periods, traditions, and cultures. After he retired from teaching, Noboru extended his interests to paper-making, and made several visits to Japan over the years to learn about and experiment with making his own handmade paper, with the generous support of the Kashiki paper company in Kochi, Japan. He taught woodblock techniques to the Inuit in Cape Dorset, Pangnirtung and Baker Lake, and his work has been shown in numerous exhibitions and competitions, and is in major public and private collections across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.