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16th Red Dawns Festival: Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?”

05 March 2015 > 27 March 2015 Kindly invited to the opening of "Illustrations to the tale What’s Your Name?" exhibiton by Alenka Spacal, on Thursday, 5th March 2015 at 8 pm at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto. The exhibition s a part of 16th International Feminist & Queer Festival Red Dawns (it will take lace between 5th and 8th March). Kindly invited to other events of the Festival. During the festival, exhibition will be on display from 3 pm to 12 pm.

Alenka Spacal will present herself at a solo exhibition organized at the 16th International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns with the illustrations she has created on the basis of her tale entitled What’s Your Name? The main character in the contemporary animal tale is a little snail that has no name yet, as it has just been born into the world; and is, in conversations with different animals, looking for a name, while getting to know the animals and their names. In this way, it discovers various methods of naming. »Some of us are named after fruits or colours, others after saints, grandmas and famous artists«, says Hazelnut Borer, a bug. The snail is asking the animals he meets to give ideas for its name, but is not entirely satisfied with their suggestions. It does not feel like a girl snail or a boy snail, nor is it really keen on either girls’ or boys’ names. In the end, the animals help the snail choose a name most fitting for a hermaphrodite that he is. Besides the motif of naming, we recognize a significant importance of gender topic, for names are usually given to children only after their sex has been clearly established.

The name of each of the animal character in the tale is accompanied by a selected letter, depicted in a mosaic manner in the top right corner of each illustration. Where there are several letters mentioned, they appear smaller in size and incorporated into the coloured background among numerous mysterious details. The letters do not appear in their alphabetical order, but are playfully sequenced according to the adventures of each animal.

At the exhibition, the author will be telling the story in front of her illustrations live, for the first time, so children will be able to learn not only about several different ways of naming and various names, but will also get acquainted with the names of the animal characters in the story, and hence with the alphabet. A tale of the present time, What’s Your Name?, representing an alphabet of its own kind is, together with the illustrations, suitable for children in their pre-reading period, or for those who are just beginning to learn to read, as it is getting them acquainted with early literacy. The author wishes to address not only the youngest, but also somewhat older children, as well as all who still let the door into fairy tale worlds open to imagination.

In the illustrations, you will be able to see how a tale can come alive in the language of visual art. It is through visual fantasy images that a text can start living on its own, the tale-inherent reality. The poetically depicted books the animals are drawing their wisdom from are much more noticeable in the illustrations than in the text. Shown in the manner of visual art, books shine in all their power, emphasizing the significance of classic books in the era when they are getting superseded by e-books to an ever greater extend. Traditional methods of illustration are also put on a test in our age of electronic media. With her recent illustrations, Alenka Spacal continues to develop her personal, easily recognizable, mosaic-like style that she has created already for the illustrations of her first authorial picture book, Rainbow Masquerade. The illustrations of the What’s Your Name? tale are, however, more reduced, and they stem out from the whiteness of the background. From the light surfaces, mosaic-like image fields are born, constructed of small squares, painted by watercolour and white tempera. Into natural hues of earthy, sandy and grassy-green surfaces, she subtly brings brightly coloured emphases of her story-tale characters. The illustrator, using the thinnest brushes possible, enjoys in a lengthy and precise painting of her mosaic-like vastness. Stylized in the same manner are also some of the small or even miniaturely depicted animals that the author with refined sensibility for details places into the fantasy planes of meadow-like, leafy, stony and rocky landscapes. As her protagonists, she chooses the animals with interesting names - a hoopoe, a midwife toad, or a hazelnut borer - which, otherwise, do not often appear in tales. Her forest and meadow animals are personified in her visual depictions, interestingly clad from the bottom to the top, they play and read books.

The tale What’s Your Name? will first come alive in public told live and through its exhibited illustrations. The Alkatraz Gallery will present 13 illustrations, the dedication, the inner cover, endpapers and the cover, all ready for possible publishing of the authorial picture book. The arrangement of the exhibition will reveal what a picture book looks like before it is published. In this way, the visitors will be able to get an insight into the creative process of book production. The illustrations will be on display as independent artworks, accompanying the tale also while it is being told, even before its picture-book version.

Thanks to: Center for Contemporary Arts SCCA-Ljubljana, ŠKUC - Cultural center Q.

About the author:

Alenka Spacal (1975) is a writer, an illustrator, and a story-teller. She graduated and received her MA in philosophy and her Ph.D. in sociology at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. As an artist, she first presented herself with Self-Portraits, oil-paintings on kitchen towels in the period between 2003 and 2005. They were exhibited at feminist, women’s, lesbian and queer events, amongst them also in the Alkatraz Gallery at the Red Dawns 6, in 2005. She is also active as a theoretician, covering issues like gender in expert articles for adults and tales for children. Her first authorial tale Rainbow Masquerade (Založba ŠKUC, Lambda) was published in 2013. The illustrations from this picture book were displayed at various exhibitions of illustration art at home and abroad. The author was telling the story of Rainbow Masquerade at events held for children. See more at: http://www.mavricna-maskarada.si/.

Exhibitions of illustration art:

The exhibition of the Illustrators’ Section of the Ljubljana Fine Artists Society (DLUL), entitled »Illustrators at Breg«, Razstava Sekcije ilustratorjev pri ZDSLU z naslovom »Ilustratorji na B/r/egu«, Galerija DLUL, Ljubljana, 8th January-8th February 2015.

Spaces, Traces, Shadows Prostori, sledi in sence, a group exhibition, Lesbian quarter, KUD France Prešeren, 9th -13th December 2014.

Exhibition of illustrations of the authorial picture-book Rainbow Masquerade Razstava ilustracij iz avtorske slikanice Mavrična maškarada, Tiffany Club (ŠKUC – Cultural Centre Q), 20th -24th October 2014.

5th Croatian Biennial of Illustration 5. hrvatski biennale ilustracije, Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb, 17th June-27th July 2014.

A group exhibition “Through Her Eyes. The Flashes of Lesbian-Feminist Production Skupinska razstava "Skozi njene oči. Utrinki lezbično-feministične produkcije, Alkatraz Gallery, Red Dawns, 15th International Feminist and Queer Festival, 6th -18th March 2014.

47. Golden Quail of Belgrade, 12th International Biennial of Illustration, "Cvijeta Zuzorić" Art Pavillion, Belgrade, 3rd –20th December 2013.

10. Slovenian Biennial of Illustration – SBI, 13th November 2012-31st January 2013, Gallery of Cankarjev dom in collaboration with the Section for Illustration at ZDSLU.

Red Dawns logo design by Ana Čigon Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, izrez, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal, Kako ti je ime?, 2014, akvarel in bela tempera Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?” Alenka Spacal – Illustrations to the tale “What’s Your Name?”