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For the Love of Canines

October 22, 2022 - August 27, 2023

Exhibition open October 22, 2022 – August 27, 2023

Wild canines, including foxes, coyotes, and wolves, have held significant social and cultural meaning to humans worldwide throughout history. However, there are conflicted emotional opinions regarding these familiar predators.  Foxes, for example, while prized for their beauty and their cunningness, are despised for preying on smaller livestock and poultry, such as chickens and ducks. Coyotes, a canine species native to North America, nearly brought to extinction during western settlement, are also part of some Native cultures’ cosmologies. Sometimes considered a creator, Coyote might also be wicked or a buffoon. Of all wild canines, wolves have perhaps caused the most dread historically. Feared by ancient farmers to present day ranchers, wolves that at times prey on sheep, cattle, and other domestic animals, have also been known to kill humans. Alternatively, the famous Etruscan sculpture of La Lupa Capitolina (The Capitoline Wolf) from the fifth century BCE depicts a she-wolf caring for twins, Romulus and Remus, who founded city of Rome. Still, the one thing that all wild canines have common is a genetic relation to our own much beloved domestic dogs.

For the Love of Canines questions humans’ relation and fascination with canines, whether love or loathing, through works of art from NMWA’s permanent collection.

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