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Kaleidoscopic Animalia Exhibition

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by Karen Grikitis (subscribe)
I am a former journalist and editor, currently writing fiction for adults and children. Visit my website at www.karengrikitis.wordpress.com.
Event: -
Showcasing the talent of resident artist Paul Hardy
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Kaleidoscopic Animalia Exhibition, Glenbow Museum, Calgary
Exploring the connection between humans and animals, the Kaleidoscopic Animalia exhibition at the Glenbow Museum brings together an eclectic mix of treasures from the Museum's vaults to create a fascinating showcase of creator Paul Hardy's talents as a designer.

Artist in residence at the Glenbow, Hardy has created fifteen installations, designed as shop windows, showing how animals and their imagery and symbolism have influenced human creativity through the ages in art, fashion, interiors and culture.

As well as paying homage to the Haida aboriginal people in 'Everything Isn't Always Black and White' and Canada's fur trading past in 'Trapped in Tradition', he explores the role of animals in fairytales, fashion accessories, the circus and children's toys, on television, and in other aspects of life.

Almost every installation includes a mannequin dressed in an item of clothing designed by Paul Hardy, reflecting the animal theme. One of the most striking is a corseted gown made from Hudson's Bay Company wool cloth point blankets, much
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G'ma's Curio Cabinet at Kaleidoscopic Animalia Exhibition, Glenbow Museum, Calgary
sought after items in the 1780s, and trimmed with beaver fur (from a repurposed fur coat), which was an integral part of the early fur trade economy in Canada.

'Harvie's Blue Plate Special' is the centre piece of the exhibition, displaying almost an entire room decked out to reflect a hunting theme. The wooden fireplace is carved with hung birds and stags' heads; there are antler horn chairs and a framed mirror, prints of game animals on the walls and one of the mannequins is dressed in a leopard skin coat. It is worth spending time sitting and looking at all the exhibits, especially this one, to appreciate the level of detail and amazing collection of artefacts in each installation.

One of my favourites is the 'G'Ma's Curio Cabinet' which shows a mannequin in a red silk dress and matching cape lined with faux fox fur, wearing a top hat and standing in front of shelves spilling over with stuffed animal toys, puppet animals and wooden toys from different eras.

The aim of Kaleidoscopic Animalia is to provide a visual smorgasbord of contemporary life peppered with animal influences. It is a wonderful show that will capture the imagination of both adults and children.

The exhibition is on the second floor of the Glenbow Museum, which is located on the corner of Stephen (8th) Avenue and 1st Street.

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Why? Brilliantly quirky Paul Hardy exhibition
When: Tuesday - Saturday: 9am - 5pm Sunday: 12pm - 5pm
Phone: 403-268-4100
Where: 130 9 Avenue S.E. Calgary, Alberta Canada T2G 0P3
Cost: CN$16. Concessions available.
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