Price: $ 60,000
It is no surprise Victoria sculpture Armando Barbon was commissioned to sculpt a bronze entitled The Emigrant that resides permanently at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Halifax’s Pier 21. His is a success story to be reckoned with.
Born in Treviso, Barbon emigrated from Italy to Canada when he was 27. With the support of family and relatives, Barbon bought a struggling deli in Victoria. He expanded the deli into a highly successful gourmet food/wholesale distribution company and ran it for nearly three decades.
Retired, Barbon decided to pursue long-buried artistic passions. Traveling to Italy for voice lessons he fell ill and could not proceed. Undeterred, he opted to study sculpture; well aware the centuries-old tradition is an integral part of Italian culture.
Barbon studied at the Academy of Art in Florence and returned to the “cradle of sculpture” at Pietrasanta four times over a number of years. He then built a studio in Victoria to eliminate the grueling travel and lengthy absences from family. It hosts visiting sculptors, is a foundry for bronze casting and features a music studio – for his resumed singing studies.
Barbon’s sculptures are figurative studies almost exclusively. He is adept working in both bronze and marble. His subject matter is wide and varied: from grandchildren studies through historical figures and religious icons to nudes and athletes of every stripe and sport.
His work here celebrates an ice dancer performing a Biellmann spin. The delicacy of the patterned skating costume, the muscular, lithe limbs, the curvature of the body and extended raised leg, and the exultation on the skater’s face in achieving the move are all superbly realized.
A casting of Ice Princess was unveiled during the Canadian Figure Skating Championships held in Victoria in 2011.
His work is found around the globe, with pieces in Spain, Italy, Brazil and across Canada. Barbon and his wife Yole are active philanthropists in the city, generously supporting music and fine arts institutions throughout the Greater Victoria area.