Our unique Nellie McClung monument was designed and sculpted by renowned Winnipeg artist, Helen Granger Young.
ABOUT HELEN GRANGER YOUNG
Born and raised in Toronto, Helen Young first studied art at the Ontario College of Art under such notables as Dr. Charles Fraser Comfort, RCA and Franklin Carmichael, RCA, a member of the Group of Seven. She moved to Winnipeg in 1947 where she married and raised a family, yet continued to build and develop her creative skills. In addition to portrait painting, she worked as a commercial artist for Eaton’s and the Bay, as an art instructor, as a sculptor in porcelain, and later, in bronze.
Over the years, Young has been commissioned to create pieces that have been presented to provincial and Canadian dignitaries, the Royal Family, foreign leaders and the Vatican. Some of her works are in the Kremlin, Buckingham Palace and the White House. Alongside the work of sculptor Leo Mol, a number of her bronze busts also grace the Winnipeg Real Estate Board’s Walk of Fame. During her career she has also been commissioned to create some of Winnipeg’s best-known memorials including: a life sized bronze sculpture depicting Father Jean Pierre Aulneau and Jean Baptise La Verendrye (located in front of the St. Boniface Basilica Cathedral), sculptures of 6 bison heads (displayed on the Main Street Bridge), a series of miniature busts of Israel Asper, as well as the Tri-Service Memorial in commemoration of the contribution of the Commonwealth Women’s Forces to the World Wars I and II (located on Memorial Boulevard). These represent but a few of her achievements.
Message from Helen Granger Young
It is an honour for any artist to be asked to create a public monument to a famous fellow citizen. However; it is twice the honour for a female artist to be able to pay tribute to Nellie McClung as part of the Famous Five. Those incredible women who fought for 13 years against the indifference of legislatures, the disdain of men and the hostility of many Canadians to women in public life, so that women could be legally recognized as persons.
I was grateful and honoured to be the artist chosen to create this monument. My dream, was to capture the very essence of the women I so admired, for their strength of character and for their unflinching determination to fight for justice. It was a great challenge to create an authentic work of art that could inspire an interest in the lives and works of such remarkable women, to help to keep their achievements alive.
Their success in 1929 is recorded on a plaque at the entrance to the senate chamber. But that plaque says nothing of the heartbreaking struggles that preceded the drafting of some of the most enlightened legislation in the world for the protection of both women and children.
My creative imagination was so stirred by the pioneering spirit and accomplishments of Nellie McClung and indeed those of the Famous Five, and it was not only a challenge but a sincere privilege to create a monument to remind all Canadians of the debt that we owe them.
As I look back over my career, this monument for Nellie McClung represents one of the most incredible achievements and accomplishments of my life.
Helen Granger Young