Valentina Goes to WAG - Media Release

June 9, 2009

Mayberry To Install New, Larger-than-Life Fafard Bronze on Exchange District Street


Mayberry To Install New, Larger-than-Life Fafard Bronze on Exchange District Street

WINNIPEG –  Valentina – the Joe Fafard bronze sculpture of a young horse which graced the entrance to Mayberry Fine Art since November, 2004 – was hoisted by crane onto a truck for her short journey to The Winnipeg Art Gallery today. 

The privately-owned Mayberry gallery is loaning the 160-kilogram bronze of the young Appaloosa (valued at $70,000) to the WAG in recognition of the public gallery’s upcoming, 70-piece retrospective exhibition of Fafard’s work. Valentina is an impressive addition to the WAG’s rooftop sculpture garden which has just reopened following an extensive renovation.

The Mayberrys announced that a new, larger-than-life Fafard bronze will take Valentina’s place on the sidewalk in front of their gallery in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. The seven-foot-high, 500-kilogram sculpture, to be unveiled and installed later this month, is one of the few of that size that the distinguished Saskatchewan artist has done.

Dr. Stephen Borys, director of The Winnipeg Art Gallery, was on hand for the de-installation and to figuratively take Valentina’s reins from Bill Mayberry.

Mayberry Fine Art, the gallery which represents Fafard in Manitoba, also announced plans for its own Fafard show to complement the WAG’s exhibition (June 25 to Sept. 27) of the celebrated artist’s work. The Mayberry show, with 20 sculptures on display, will open June 27 and continue to mid-July.

“We are delighted to be able to support The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s enhancement of its sculpture garden in conjunction with the first, major retrospective of Joe’s work and to have the opportunity to unveil a magnificent, new sculpture to accompany our own Fafard exhibition,”  gallery co-owner Bill Mayberry said.

“Our philosophy has always been to lead by example – in this case in the matter of public art,”  added Mayberry, who believes Winnipeg’s image would benefit by adding more outdoor sculpture like the figurative piece recently installed outside the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Borys said, “Since my arrival in Winnipeg last June, I’ve admired Joe Fafard’s beautiful horse in front of the Mayberry gallery.  With the completion of the restoration of the WAG’s rooftop sculpture garden, I must admit, I thought the horse would look fantastic there.

“The WAG has an excellent relationship with Mayberry Fine Art, and the Mayberrys generously agreed to lend us the sculpture for the summer – and the timing couldn’t be better.  Our rooftop reopens this week and with the upcoming Joe Fafard retrospective visitors will have an opportunity to see Fafard’s work in different spaces.  Frankly, I think  Valentina will be very happy in our sculpture garden, keeping company with pieces by Henry Moore, Ossip Zadkine, Eva Stubbs, Sorel Etrog, Bruce Head, and others,” Borys added.  

Valentina  has stood outside the Mayberry gallery for more than four years and quickly became a focal point of the neighbourhood. Along with Mayberry’s second, outdoor art installation – a Rose-Aimée Bélanger bronze of three, plump women entitled Gossip – the Appaloosa enhanced the streetscape while making a statement about the value of situating fine art in public spaces.

“Art creates vibrancy in a neighbourhood. It enhances the outdoor environment,” noted gallery co-owner Shaun Mayberry.

“Installing a wonderful work of art on public property adjacent to a place of business, draws attention to both the business and to the area, perhaps even becoming a landmark like Valentina and Gossip have. Exhibiting fine art in public spaces is a practice common in other major cities,” he added.

Vancouver, Regina, Toronto and Montreal also have Fafard’s bronze works on display outdoors. Fafard, one of Canada’s most well-regarded and highly-collected, living sculptors, created seven cows for the TD Centre’s grassy enclave in downtown Toronto. Downtown Vancouver and Regina are home to Fafard’s massive bulls, while a life-size mare and foal stand in Vancouver’s downtown waterfront district. (Mini-bio of the artist follows.)

Fafard, a 1966 University of Manitoba fine arts graduate, is among the more than 40 renowned, contemporary Canadian artists represented by Mayberry Fine Art (

The three-month retrospective of Fafard’s work at the WAG ( is part of a cross-Canada tour organized by Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. The exhibition features a range of Fafard pieces in ceramic, bronze, plaster, and steel. Well-known for his menagerie of farm animals such as cows, sheep and horses, Fafard also immortalizes well-known historical figures and artists, such John Diefenbaker and Pablo Picasso, in his work.


Joe Fafard, a resident of Lumsden, Sask., comes by his love of horses naturally, having grown up on a farm in the French-speaking Ste. Marthe area of the province. His talent for art was evident at a young age.

Born in 1942, Fafard is one of the most important artists working in Canada today. Well-known as a ceramic sculptor, in the early 1980s he began experimenting with bronze. Fafard’s bronze work has been described as “unparalleled” and is housed in major collections across Canada.

An Officer of the Order of Canada and member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Fafard has also seen his work exhibited in the U.S., England, France and Japan.


Mayberry Fine Art opened its main gallery in January, 2003, in a century-old-building in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. Located at 212 McDermot Avenue, the gallery represents a select group of contemporary Canadian artists such as Winnipeg’s Wanda Koop and Andrew Valko, Surrey’s Robert Genn, Saskatchewan’s Joe Fafard, and Ottawa’s Rose-Aimee Belanger, in addition to its significant activity in the historical art market.

The Mayberry’s semi-virtual, satellite gallery, featuring touchscreen technology which provides access to some 2000 works of art, opened in Winnipeg Square in the summer of 2008.

Visit to learn more about Mayberry Fine Art’s professional services and its artists.