Memorable Manitobans: Nikola Bjelajac (1919-2006)
Born at Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 7 December 1919, he served in the American Army during the Second World War, from 1942 to early 1946. He then obtained a BSc in Art Education from the Milwaukee State Teachers College (1946) and a MSc degree from the University of Wisconsin (1947). He taught art at the University of Saskatchewan from 1947 to 1951, then studied mural painting and sculpture in Mexico from 1951 to 1956. Returning to Canada, he taught at the University of Manitoba School of Art from 1956 to 1962. In 1964, he founded the non-profit Forum Art Institute in collaboration with Steve Repa, where he worked until late in his life and fostered the careers of many young artists. In recognition of his service, he received a Manitoba Centennial Medal from the Manitoba Historical Society (1970) and a Community Service Award from the City of Winnipeg (1995). He died at Winnipeg, unmarried, on 22 February 2006.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 March 2006, page 35.
We thank Frances Kasper and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 8 July 2019
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