The Winnipeg Alphabestiary

University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB • January 12-March 1, 2012

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC • May 5-June 20, 2012


Alpha bestiaries (an alphabet with illustrations of various beasts) are closely associated with children's books, assisting a child's development in terms of language. Animals fascinate and delight, residing in our consciousness and in our imagination.

Winnipeg-based arts magazine Border Crossings commissioned The Winnipeg Alphabestiary, selecting 26 artists who call or have called Winnipeg "home." The result is an impressive collection featuring work by many established artists such as Wanda Koop, Eleanor Bond, Aganetha Dyck, and Diana Thorneycroft; recent stars, such as Marcel Dzama and Sarah Anne Johnson; and several who are gaining a reputation nationally such as Mélanie Rocan, Dominique Rey, Erica Eyres, and Shaun Morin.

Unlike a traditional alpha bestiary, this collection of images produces both expected and unexpected associations. All the animals presented are surprisingly inventive. Although some have real world counterparts, others are the output of an active imagination. As Border Crossings editor Meeka Walsh writes, "The Winnipeg Alphabestiary is about both "Beauty and the Beast and Beauty in the Beast."

This astonishing collection provides an interaction with many complex ideas about the animals with whom we share our world

Exhibition Details:

Artists: Eleanor Bond, Daniel Dueck, Michael Dumontier, Aganetha Dyck, Marcel Dzama, Cliff Eyland, Erica Eyres, Neil Farber, Simon Hughes, Sarah Anne Johnson, Wanda Koop, Drue Langlois, Bonnie Marin, Shawna McLeod, Doug Melnyk, Shaun Morin, Alison Norlen, Kim Ouellette, Jon Pylypchuk, Dominique Rey, Mélanie Rocan, Tim Schouten, Diana Thorneycroft, Andrew Valko, Janet Werner and Adrian Williams

Curator: Mary Reid, Curator, Contemporary Art and Photography

Exhibition includes:
• 26 mixed media works, framed
• supporting materials: bilingual (English and French) introductory panels; labels for all artworks, with extended text for many works. All text provided by electronic files.
• publication: The Winnipeg Alphabestiary (Winnipeg: Border Crossings, 2010) is available for purchase through the WAG. One copy provided gratis.
• packing and crating

Requirements of host institution:
• approximately 100-120 running feet, 1300 sq. feet

Environmental and security requirements:
• relative humidity: 50% fluctuations less than +/- 5% RH in 24 hours
• temperature: 20º C with fluctuations not to exceed 2ºC in 24 hours
• light levels 50 lux for works on paper and mixed media; 150 lux for paintings maximum
• security: constant surveillance when open to the public; security alarm system in use when closed to the public

Host venue length: 12 weeks

Tour Schedule: Summer 2010 through Winter 2013

click here for an illustrated list of works

For more information contact:

Helen Delacrataz, Chief Curator
Winnipeg Art Gallery




Neil Farber, Snake (from The Winnipeg Alphabestiary, 2005.

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