There's A Secret Underground Art Gallery In Canada Dedicated To One Bulldog - Atlas Obscura
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There’s A Secret Underground Art Gallery In Canada Dedicated To One Bulldog

The Hall of Zsu Zsi pays tribute to a beloved art world pet.

As the owner of Edmonton’s Bearclaw Gallery, Jackie Bugera spends her days surrounded by stunning First Nations art.

But when she goes home at night, it’s to a second, secret gallery: her basement showcases scores of works across a broad range of media, all focused on her late bulldog, Zsu Zsi.

At the CBC, Reporter Andrea Huncar provides a delightful walkthrough of The Hall of Zsu Zsi, as well as testimony from the contributors—many of them renowned Indigenous artists—who have made it possible. Leo Arcand, a Cree sculptor, carved a soapstone bust of Zsu Zsi, who died in 2012. He was particularly inspired by her twinkling eyes and flapping jowls, he tells Huncar.

“She was always charming, but also a little bit put offish, so you couldn’t help but be drawn in,” says Aaron Paquette, the first to paint Zsu Zsi and now a frequent contributor. His works include I’m a fool for you, which imagines Zsu Zsi as a queen gorging on venison, and Zsu Zsi of the Night, which shows her splayed, French-girl style, in a local dog park.

Perhaps the most touching work is by Linus Woods. Entitled To the Spirit World, it shows the beloved dog standing in the open door of a boxcar, feet planted and ready for the journey.

You can learn more about the gallery, and see more artworks, over at the CBC.

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