Hib Sabin

Hib Sabin

“My goal is not to recreate a mythology, but bring past and present together in a multi-dimensional form that speaks to its mystery.  What is the spirit of a bird and the power within it?  To convey this artistically is to bring the physical and spiritual together in a carving that has power.  What is the essence of this power and what does it mean to connect with it in the most primitive, archetypal sense?  For the answer to this I turn to the mythologies of the world, for it is they that have the potential to divulge the mystery of these immortal characters.” 

Hib Sabin’s fascination and love of mythology and culture ripened during his extensive travels throughout the world.  Among his most memorable and influential experiences have been the study of Pacific Northwest Coast Native peoples and their rich and ancient mythology.  Additionally, time spent working with a peace group in Russia towards the end of the Cold War, observing divination practices in Uzbekistan, studying Hindu mythology among India’s hill tribes and apprenticing with a Mexican Curandero (female shaman) during his stay in Mexico, have all aided in inspiring his work and appreciation of the world.  He has also spent time with the Masai in Tanzania, exploring how contemporary cultures exist in their natural environment and adapt to modern existence.  Journeying throughout these places has taught Hib that, “regardless of where people live, there is a certain commonality among us all.”

As a student of shamanic learning, Sabin is attuned to the connection between the human and animal spirit worlds.  His cast of figures moves in and out of the spiritual world and evokes the feeling of a global pantheon. Themes of transformation, journeying, and captivity/release are common in his work, specifically transitional moments between life, sleep and the afterlife. Sabin works predominantly in juniper wood, carving shamanic masks and maskettes, spirit and talking sticks, animal spirit bowls, and spirit canoes carrying animals and humans between worlds.

Hib Sabin has been a practicing artist since 1957. He received a BFA in Studio Art and Art History from a coordinated program between the University of Pennsylvania and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He went on to obtain his MFA in Art History from the University of Pittsburgh. Following this period Hib continued his role as academician and became an instructor of studio art and art history at Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh; an Associate Professor of studio art and art history at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA; and an instructor of art history at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA.  He now resides and derives inspiration from the beautiful southwest.