John's Biography

John Sabourin - NWT Canada Artist

John Sabourin was born in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories. John became interested in painting in 1989 and carving in 1995, but it was not until his graduation from the Victoria College of Art, Victoria, British Columbia in 1999 that he decided to devote himself full-time to art. John’s carvings explore the complex relationship between humans and nature. He embraces his Dene cultural roots by interpreting motifs from stories and legends in stone.

John has sold paintings and carvings to private collectors in Canada and the United States, including the Canadian Embassy in the United Kingdom, and has completed several commissions murals in the North. John has travelled the world extensively with both solo and group exhibitions. In 2015, he was invited to Circum-Art show in Reykjavik, Iceland, and in June 2015, John had a solo show "Calling me Home" at the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver. John has been honoured by many awards, over the years. In June 2014, John was one of the ten carvers selected to participate in an international Master Carvers at the Kwalin Dun Cultural Centre In Whitehorse, Yukon.

When he carves, John feels his focus and energy going into the piece. He thoroughly enjoys making a sculpture, for this reason. But when he's finished, he feels the piece no longer belongs to him. What other people see in the carving and how they connect with it and beyond, is their story to tell. John feels privileged to be able to work at something he cares about so deeply, and enjoys sharing his art and knowledge with others in workshops.


  • 2005 - Honorary Fine Arts Certificate - Aurora College, Fort Smith, NT
  • 1999 - Victoria College of Art Diploma - Victoria, British Columbia
  • 1995 - Fine Arts Certificate - Aurora College, Fort Simpson, NT
  • 1989 - Fine Arts Certificate - Intro. Print making, Intro. Intaglio, Arctic College, Cape Dorset, Nunavut

Awards and Achievements

  • 2017 - Indigenous Art Award, The Hnatyshyn Foundation, Winnipeg, MB
  • 2016 - Artist Choice Award {Sculpture} Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NT 
  • 2007 - First Place/Artists' Choice Award - National Snow Sculpture Competition, Gatineau, Quebec
  • 2005 - People's Choice Award - Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NT
  • 2004 - Artists' Choice Award - Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NT

Solo and Group Exhibition

  • 2020 - "Riding the Wind" Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, BC
  • 2018 - "Ravens Journey" Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, BC
  • 2015 - "Awakening the Spirit" Open Sky Gallery, Fort Simpson. NT
  • 2015 - "Calling me Home" Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, BC
  • 2014 - "Dream Invaders" Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, BC
  • 2013 - "Riding the North Wind" Inuit Gallery of Vancouver, BC
  • 2010 - Northern House, Art Exhibition Vancouver, BC - Winter Olympic Games February
  • 2010 - "One of a Kind Show" Toronto, Ontario
  • 2010 - First People's Fine Arts Exhibition - Canadian Guild of Crafts, Montreal, QC June
  • 2009 - "Talking Earth and Flying Fish" The Guild Shop - Toronto, ON March
  • 2009 - Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuvik, NT
  • 2008 - "Burning Cold", Oakville Galleries, Oakville, ON, group exhibit, October
  • 2008 - "Burning Cold", Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, ON, group exhibit, December
  • 2008 - Great Northern Arts Festival, Inuivk, NT
  • 2008 - "Burning Cold" Nanaimo Art Gallery
  • 2007 - The Canadian Aboriginal Festival, Toronto, ON, November


    •  2021 - "Travelling to the Gathering Place" Sculpture Liidlii Kue First Nation, Fort Simpson, NT
    •  2021 - "Yamba Deya" Sculpture, Historical Society, Fort Simpson, NT
    •  2019 - "Controlling the Caribou" Sculpture, Prince of Wales Northern         Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NT
    • 2014 - "Raven Flowing" Sculpture Canadian Embassy, London, England
    • 2007 - "Brother Eagle", sandstone sculpture, private collection
    • 2007 - "Spirit Journey", chlorite carving - Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, Yellowknife, NT
    • 2006 - Raven project, fiberglass raven - the City of Yellowknife, NT, Yellowknife Art Society
    • 2005 - "Cultural Interchange", large granite sculpture - French Federation, Yellowknife, NT
    • 2003 - "A Northern Life", mural - the Public Library, City of Yellowknife, NT

    John Sabourin - Northern Canadian Indigenous Artist