Sebastián was born Enrique Carbajal on November 15, 1947 inSanta Rosalía de Camargo,Chihuahua,in northern Mexico.He knew he wanted to be an artist since he was a small child.He lived in Chihuahua until he began studying in theEscuela Nacional de Artes PlásticasinMexico Cityin 1964. He adopted the pseudonym Sebastián after thepainting of Saint Sebastian by Botticelli.
At the age of 21, the Museum of Art ofCiudad Juárez presented his ceramic work in his first individual exhibit. Sebastián received his first award for his work in 1965 at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas annual exhibition, while he was still a student, followed by placing first at the same school’s Exposición Anual de Mobilario y Escultura in 1967. After completing his formal studies, he continued his work with short-lived schools and movements such as the "Salon Independiente." During his second individual exposition, he displayed ostensibly simple paper carton works that he called "desplegables" (foldable). These smaller works became the base of ideas for his later monumental works made with tons of iron and concrete.
While Sebastián has done architectural design, painting, art objects, furniture design, jewelry, costume design, set design, and multimedia shows, he is known best for his more than 200 monumental steel and concrete sculptures, usually found in urban settings around the world.Much of his sculptural work has kinetic appeal even if the parts do not move. Geometric concepts are also very important to his work. In Mexico, his best known monumental sculpture is “Cabeza de Caballo,” located in Mexico City.Other monumental sculptures include “El Torreón al Porvenir” for Torreón’s 100th anniversary and “Los Arcos del Milenio” in Guadalajara for the nation’s 200th anniversary of its independence.In 2001, Sebastian gifted the “Torch of Friendship” to the City of San Antonio. The iconic orange sculpture measures 65 feet and sits about two blocks from the Alamo.
Sebastian’s work has been shown in more than 190 solo exhibitions. As one of the world’s foremost living sculptors, his work was exhibited in Mexico, Germany, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, England, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Canada, Finland, the United States, France, Japan, Switzerland and Venezuela.
In addition to sculptures and other art, Sebastian worked as an academic both in Mexico and abroad. Sebastian is the recipient of six honorary doctorates.In 1973 he was a guest lecturer at theBezalel Academy of Arts and Design.In 1985 he became an academic at theAcademia de Artesin Mexico. He served as artist in residence forDartmouth Collegein 1990. Two years later, he presented at theUniversidad Autónoma de la Lagunain Torreón. He received a fellowship from theSistema Nacional de Creadores de Artefrom 1994-1996. For more than 25 years he served as professor and researcher at theUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. He also taught sculpture, visualization and multimedia classes at the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico City.
Sebastian served as a jury member at the North American Sculpture Exhibition in Colorado (1986, 1991), the Concurso Nacional and Triennial Americana de Escultura en Madera in Argentina (1993) and theAlexandria Biennial(2001).
Sebastian was inducted into theRoyal Academy of Art at The Hague, a member of the Academia Nacional de las Artes, theSalón de la Plástica Mexicanaand the Legión de Honor Nacional de México in 1987. He also
received honorary doctorates from the Universidad Autónoma de La Laguna in Torreón in 2003, theUniversidad Autónoma de Chihuahua in 2004, theCity College of New York, theUniversidad Autónoma de Colimaand theUniversidad Autónoma Metropolitana2011.
He was named “favorite son” twice by his hometown of Camargo.Mexico’s National Lottery issued tickets in his honor in two separate occasions.He also received the Gral. Angel Trias Alvarez Medal from the Sociedad Chihuahuense de Estudios Históricos 1998, recognition from the Parlamente Cultural deMERCOSUR in 2005 and the keys to the city ofMatamoros, Tamaulipas also that year. His art career has also led him to work with various organizations such as the Worlds Arts Forum Council inGeneva, the Artists Council in Defense of theLascaux Cavesin France,Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, the board of the State of Mexico Symphonic Orchestra, the administrative board of the Fundación Margarita Miranda de Mascareñas and the International Sculpture Council.
Sebastian lives in Mexico City.Over time, his work has kept up with technological advances, using biological electroplating, mimicking processes created by some sea creatures. He believes the future of art lies in science and technology as well as art beyond Earth.
- 1965 - Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas 1965
- 1967 – First place award, Exposición Annual de Mobilario y Escultura
- 1974 - First prize, Primera Bienal de Arte inMorelia, Michoacán
- 1981 - First prize at the Concurso Nacional de Escultura Monumento a las Nacionalidad Mexicana
- 1983 - UNAM Medal for his participation with the Centro de Espacio Escultórico
- 1984 - Jury Prize, International Graphic Biennial
- 1984 - Asociación del Claustro de Sor Juana Medal
- 1985 - Tomás Valles Vivar Prize in Chihuahua
- 1987 - the Superior Prize at the Competition and Homage to Henry Moore at theHakone Open-Air Museumin Japan
- 1990 - Bronze Award from the ABC Ashi Broadcasting Corporation in Osaka
- 1990 - Bronze Prize from the International Painting Triennial in Osaka
- 1992 - Jury Prize, International Graphic Biennial
- 1992 - Sol Caracol Prize, Instituto Superior de Arquitectura y Diseño Industrial at the University of Chihuahua
- 1992 - Grand Prize and Gold Prize at the A-ORC 200 in Osaka
- 1992 - Japan Silver Prize at the Sculpture Triennial in Osaka
- 1993 - Mainichi Broadcasting SystemPrize at the International Painting Triennial in Osaka
- 1995 - Kinki Nippon RailwayPrize at the Osaka Sculpture Triennial
- 1997 - Moquette Awards at the Fifth Kajima Sculpture Contest in Tokyo
- 1998 - Lifetime Achievement Award from RGI Global Marketing inDetroit
- 1999 - Medaille de la Ville de Paris in France
- 2002 - Torch of FriendshipAppreciation Award in San Antonio
- 2005 - Jerusalem Prizefrom the Zionist Federation of Mexico and the City of Jerusalem