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Sudbury artist Gregory Maskwa has passed away

Living with chronic health conditions, Maskwa painted his pain
Gregory Maskwa is seen here in 2019.

A Sudbury artist who lived for many years with chronic health conditions that left him in pain has passed away at the age of 69.

Gregory Maskwa passed away peacefully Jan. 17 at Maison McCulloch Hospice.

“Greg was a true artist who loved depicting his life using his craft,” said his obituary.

“Some would say even more so, he loved speaking about his experiences in person — painting you a true visual of his experiences by his spoken word. Whether it was on a canvas or in person, Greg shared about all of the experiences he went through, both good and bad. He didn’t shy away from or regret any aspect of his life.”

Maskwa lived with chronic pain caused by an extreme condition related to his HIV called ‘peripheral neuropathy’. 

In 2019, ran a story about Maskwa, who had donated an award-winning painting called “Things Could Be Worse (Self-portrait with Pain)” to the Integrated Chronic Pain Program from Health Sciences North, where he was a patient.

It is a display of the way Maskwa saw his pain, and felt his pain.

“Chronic pain never really goes away,” said Maskwa in 2019, in speaking about the HSN program. “It can have peaks and valleys, but it’s never going to go away. You’re going to have to adjust and live and make your life work around it. I have always been treated with the utmost respect here, and then you learn to respect yourself. I am so grateful, I cannot say that word enough.”

In 2011, Maskwa, who said he suffered from depression, also showcased his work as part of a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Maskwa said just because someone is faced with a mental illness, doesn't mean they can't be a “creative and dynamic” contributing member of society.

In his obituary, Maskwa’s family thanked “the many doctors, nurses and caregivers who helped Greg,” and said they “would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the staff and volunteers at the Maison McCulloch Hospice.”

Maskwa is survived by siblings Brian (Pauline), Morley (Pauline Fay), Douglas (Diane) and Linda (Les Soule), as well as extended family and friends. He is predeceased by his parents, John and Elva Maskwa.

A celebration of life to honour Maskwa will take place at a later date.

The family asks that people donate to Maison McCulloch Hospice in Maskwa’s name.