Robert Roussil was born in Montréal in 1925. He studied at the Art Association of Montréal (1945–46), which later became the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. A fiery, controversial figure, Roussil was deeply involved in leftist political movements. He also took part in the foundation of several studios that welcomed both artists and labourers. In 1947, Roussil established a group called La Place des Arts with other artists, such as Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Mousseau. Beginning in the 1960s, he created modular sculptures that formed what he described as livable spaces. Roussil took part in several sculpture symposiums in Yugoslavia, Montréal, and Grenoble, and produced many large-scale public art projects both in Québec and abroad, including the installation of a sculpture garden on the roof of a wastewater-treatment plant in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, France. Many of his urban artworks can be found throughout Montréal (and elsewhere in Québec), including Cactus modulaire, at 1100 René-Lévesque Boulevard West; Migration, on Île Sainte-Hélène; and Hommage à René Lévesque, in Lachine. Roussil died in 2013 at his legendary studio in Tourrettes-sur-Loup, near Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France, at the age of 87.