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Painter Steve Walker depicted love, beauty and joy in gay life

Artist died in his home at age 50

Steve Walker, pictured here in front of one of his paintings, always appreciated the support he received from the gay community for his work. Credit: Courtesy Lyman-Eyer Gallery

Canadian-born painter Steve Walker died at his home in Costa Rica on Jan 4, 2012. He was 50.

 
Walker was a self-taught artist who began painting after an inspirational trip to Europe when he was 25.
 
For his subjects, he chose to paint gay men, depicting the struggles and joys the gay community lived through in his lifetime, from the ongoing struggle for sexual liberation to the devastation wrought by HIV and AIDS. But he believed his subjects were universal, touching on themes of love, hate, pain, joy, beauty, loneliness, attraction, hope, despair, life and death.
 
“As a homosexual, I have been moved, educated and inspired by works that deal with a heterosexual context. Why would I assume that a heterosexual would be incapable of appreciating work that speaks to common themes in life, as seen through my eyes as a gay man? If the heterosexual population is unable to do this, then the loss is theirs, not mine,” Walker once said.
 
Walker was always grateful for the support he received from the gay community for his work. In recent years, his work has been exhibited in galleries in Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Fort Lauderdale, Key West and Provincetown.
 
“Any minority wants and needs to find artistic voices that reflect their own personal situations, and, in doing so, validate and record their lives and cultures for themselves and for the larger world,” he said.
 
A funeral will be held at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish (5338 Bank St) in Ottawa on Feb 25 at 11am. It is anticipated that a memorial celebrating the life of Walker will be held in Toronto at a date still to be determined.
 
Xtra will have more details as this story develops.