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Volume 2 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265


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The Story of Life
Featuring: Lorraine Malach

This article and the photograph of the artist are copyright of the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and were originally published in the museum's newsletter Tracks & Traces, Issue Two, Winter 2003.

Renowned Canadian artist Lorraine Malach intended her stay in Drumheller to be brief - just long enough to complete a ceramic mural for a local school. That was 1993.

Malach fell in love with the area and all it had to offer, and ended up making Drumheller her home for ten years. During her stay in the valley she became one of the Royal Tyrrell Museum's biggest fans and supporters. In 2001 she offered to create and donate an evolution themed ceramic mural to the Museum, and that is how 'The Story of Life' began.

With an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Malach immersed herself in the study of ancient life. She sketched and conceptualized figures and forms, applying her unique talents to the creation of a series of large ceramic panels portraying life forms from the Precambrian to the Cretaceous. She used human-based figures to tell the story, linking the study of paleontology to the present day and intending visitors to develop their own personal interpretations. A total of ten panels, each four feet wide and eight feet high, were carefully planned and crafted. A spectacular mural began to take shape.

No one expected that 'The Story of Life' would be Malach's final piece. On March 3, 2003, Lorraine Malach passed away - more than two years into her project and only months away from its completion.

At the time of the artist's death, all ten panels had been sculpted and eight of them had been fired in a kiln. With the assistance of a consultant, and the support of the local arts community, 'The Story of Life' was completed as a tribute to this talented artist and friend. East Coulee artist Janet Grabner completed the firing of the remaining sections, and the work was then stabilized and sealed. Master mason Jake Ketler, a long-time friend and collaborator of Malach's, sealed and installed the masterpiece.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum would like to thank everyone who made this project possible. We would also like to invite people to come in and view our most modern masterpiece. It is hanging in the Museum's entrance, where we hope it will stimulate and inspire visitors for years to come.

Note: Almost 10 tonnes of clay were used in the mural.

About the Artist

Lorraine Malach was born in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1933. She studied at the Sacred Heart Academy, Regina School of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she received several tour awards that allowed her to continue her studies in Europe. She moved to Drumheller in 1993 while completing a mural for St. Anthony's School and was a treasured member of the local arts community. Ceramic tile became her passion in the early 1960s, and in 1979 one of her works of art was commissioned as a gift to the Pope.

Editor's Note: The mural was too long for me to photograph in it's entirety so here are snapshops of it's beauty for you all to see.

Copyright of photo (c) Aleesha Stephenson 2004
Copyright of Art (c) Lorraine Malach 2003

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