Students Staff

24 February 2009

Zoología Fantástica

Colchester Campus

The cultural attaché to the Mexican embassy, Ignacio Duran, is to open an exhibition at the University of Essex by renowned Mexican artist Francisco Toledo, entitled Zoología Fantástica.

Jess Kenny, Director of the University Gallery, explains: ‘Drawing on modern myth and ancestral traditions, Toledo creates a fantastic world inspired by the work of writer and poet Jorge Lois Borges. First published in 1957, Borges' Handbook of Fantastic Creatures attempts to catalogue all the mythical creatures of history and legend in the world. With over 100 creatures - including dragons and centaurs, chimeras and banshees sitting alongside Morlocks from HG Wells' The Time Machine and Lewis Caroll's Cheshire cat - Francisco Toledo creates his own interpretation of the strange and bizarre creatures from Borges' handbook.’

This combination of artist and writer is the catalyst for a Study Day, chaired by Professor Marina Warner from the University’s Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies. Focusing on mythical creatures in literature and art, this event takes place on Wednesday 18 March from 2pm to 7pm in the Gallery. Curator and writer Catherine Lampert will discuss Toledo's artworks, while Dr Richard Barnett, Ruth Padel and Gilbert Adair will focus on Borges' catalogue of mythical creatures in literature.

This Study Day is organised by creative writers from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies and supported by Galaria Arvil, Mexico, the Mexican Embassy to the UK and the University of Essex Collection of Latin American Art. It includes a workshop, chaired by Professor Marina Warner, for creative writing students, who will be joined by A-level Literature students from Colchester's Sixth Form College.

Zoología Fantástica, organised by Jess Kenny and Professor Dawn Ades, from the Department of Art History and Theory, runs from Thursday 26 February until Saturday 21 March. Admission is free, with the University Gallery open 11am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 12noon to 4pm Saturday.


Notes to editors:
The attached image is by Francisco Toledo. Further images are available on request

Zoología Fantástica will be opened by Ignacio Duran on Thursday 26 February at 5.30pm. You are invited to send a photographer/reporter/crew along. Please confirm your attendance in advance by contacting the University of Essex Communications Office on telephone: 01206 872807 or e-mail:

For further information please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on telephone: 01206 872807 or e-mail:

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