Farhad O’Neill Biographical Notes
My first schooling began at home, where music, the visual arts, science, history, religion, politics, language, and a love of learning were ever present. My mother was an accomplished painter, singer, and dancer. My father was an accomplished musician, and scientist. Five years of excellent art and art history education at the secondary level complimented this early education.
University studies focused primarily on music - graduating with a BA (Ordinary) in Fine Arts (Music) in 1991. My training in sculpture consisted of some studio courses, and a basic knowledge of the workings of the tools and machines in the sculpture studio. The rest was left to me – working with found objects for the most part, and being exposed to the art, critique, and critical thinking in fashion at the time. A liberal arts education, rhetorical studies, and a developing interest in mnemonics complimented my artistic practice.
Life after graduation saw extensive travel - visiting major European cities and viewing the work of notable artists. Teaching the piano and selling my art provided a means by which I could set up an artistic practice. My first professional show took place in December of 1994 at the Kathleen McKay House in my hometown of Unionville, Ontario. In 1995 I moved to Ireland and my first studio was opened in that autumn in Belfast, Ireland. Since that time, I have worked solely as a visual artist.
During ten years in Ireland, I exhibited widely, had works purchased for public/private collections, and received commissions for public works in many countries. I was also involved in many community based cultural activities.
In 2004 I returned to Canada, where I resumed my practice, and at the same time accepted commissions for public works both in Canada and abroad. Notable events during this time include several mural commissions for the British Council in the Cyprus and Tunisia, the Corpus et Spiritus sculpture commission in 1997, a major exhibition of sculpture in 2008, , and the Marian Doors commission in 2014. This period between 2004 and 2014 also saw development of my art as well as participation in group exhibitions on a regular basis.
The Marian Doors Commission for St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica, a five-year project, was completed and installed in early 2019. Since that time, I have engaged in completing multiple bodies of work for exhibitions – these works include drawings, research, and preparation for a new series of illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, architectural plans, plans for public works of art, sculptures in bas-relief, a play, and learning to play the violin.
The studio practice continues.