For anyone interested in the arts scene here in Winnipeg, the name Jordan Van Sewell will be immediately recognizable. He has been a fixture on the Winnipeg Arts Scene for decades and has many works in some of the most prestigious art collections around the globe.

Jordan works in ceramics, and his sculptures have been described as whimsical, revealing and profound. His works frequently offer his own view of the world around him often with hilarious and thoughtful commentary.

Winnipeggers and those visiting Winnipeg can view his art at the Jordan Van Sewell Gallery which is located at the Forks Market, at the top of the curly stairs in the Main terminal.

The importance of the location of the Jordan Van Sewell Gallery is not lost on him.  As Van Sewell states, “I’m so fortunate to be in that space because when I look around and I look at the brick walls and the wooden ceiling, and the huge glass windows…I think what a magnificent space! For me to be the current steward of it is such a great honour. To have a tie in to not only the railway history of Winnipeg, but also the fact that it is First Nations land and it’s been a meeting place for thousands of years… it’s wonderful. I think sharing the magnificence of Winnipeg is something I enjoy as much as I do making the art.”

Very often from adversity spurs creativity, and for Van Sewell, this journey through the pandemic has impacted his art. “I guess it’s fueled some of the ideas I’ve had. I remember reading about the black plague many, many years ago and being fascinated by the idea, but also being very alarmed. When it became a reality in our own world, it certainly gave me pause to ponder and think of what the outcome could be or just living through it, and I was directly making things that were plague related.”

Jordan van Sewell’s art is an interesting mixture of equal parts whimsy, surrealism, and dystopian curveballs. His art makes both subtle, and at times, not so subtle statements on everything from Canadian History, every day occurrences, to the current state of affairs in the world here and now.

For Van Sewell natural ocurrences such as tornados and wild seas are a perfect symbol of the COVID pandemic.  These events are depicted in his art with humanity trying its best to hold on for dear life.






Everyday occurrences, during the pandemic also inspired Van Sewell to create. The vacating of downtown Winnipeg, that took place during the pandemic is a case in point. People worked from home on their computers, and relied heavily on their devices to sustain them. This left Downtown Winnipeg looking a little bit like a ghost town, with the only people left behind, being those who were often homeless.



Outside of the pandemic, Sewell finds inspiration everywhere. Whether it be from his time working on the railroad, and the cold and harsh conditions he experienced as a brakeman for CP Rail for more than a decade, or the people he has met, and national events in our time.  


Even buildings around Winnipeg such as the Winnipeg Clinic can inspire him. Jordan can celebrate the structure of a building like the Winnipeg Clinic, while at the same time making a statement on the current architectural landscape of the city.


Regardless of whatever inspires Van Sewell, one thing is certain, he is a truly unique Canadian artistic voice, and a treasure to the Winnipeg visual arts scene.

 To see Chris Wolf’s conversation with Jordan Van Sewell click here:

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