This eerie, see-through sculpture in fiery autumn colors titled Between Dog and Wolf caught my attention when I was walking by the old St. Boniface City Hall building on Provencher Boulevard last week. It is by well-known Canadian artist Joe Fafard. I had been to a Fafard exhibit at the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon and had seen some of Fafard’s pieces at the Mayberry Gallery here in Winnipeg, but this sculpture was very different. Unveiled in May 26, 2011 Between Dog and Wolf is one of the pieces in the St. Boniface Sculpture Garden which opened in June of 2008 as part of the St. Boniface centennial celebrations. St. Boniface, for those unfamiliar with Winnipeg, would be considered the city’s French Quarter.
The phrase between dog and wolf in French is entre chien et loup. It first became popular in the 13th century and describes a time of day in the morning or evening when the dim light makes it impossible to distinguish between a dog and a wolf. Fafard has created his sculpture in such a way that it looks almost ghostly, in fact I kept trying to focus my camera to get a better shot because my photos seemed a little blurry. If you look closely at the empty cut out spaces in the piece, as well as the bronze shapes they leave, you can see all kinds of silhouettes and outlines–a church steeple, a man’s face, a woman carrying a basket, angels, birds, a cocoon and tree branches. I’m sure each viewer can pick out their own unique images much like finding pictures in clouds or rock formations.
One translator says the phrase entre chien et loup has a much less literal meaning as well. It can be used to express the sometimes blurry line between the safe and familiar and the unknown and dangerous, between the domestic and the wild. It expresses the uncertainty between hope and fear. I suspect that living in a entre chien et loup kind of space at least some of the time, whether by necessity or choice, might not always be comfortable but it certainly makes our lives much more interesting. I wonder if we don’t learn the most when we are in entre chien et loup situations and places.
This photo of Between Dog and Wolf from the publication La Libertemakes me want to go back and take photos of the sculpture in another season.
If you enjoyed this post you might also like to read about the other pieces of art in the St. Boniface Sculpture Garden……..