Celebrating 50 Years of Peacock with the New Aberdeen Bestiary

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s new exhibition, the New Aberdeen Bestiary, marks the 50th anniversary of Peacock, featuring international artists and exploring mythical and real animals through prints.

Celebrating 50 Years of Peacock with the New Aberdeen Bestiary

Peacock is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a fantastic new exhibition at Aberdeen Art Gallery. New Aberdeen Bestiary, opening tomorrow (8 June) blends history and contemporary art, showcasing works from a three-year project at Peacock with seven international artists.

The featured artists—Abdulrazaq Awofeso, Delaine Le Bas, Joy Charpentier, Carla Felipe, Julio Jara, Sadie Main, and Pedro G Romero—bring diverse backgrounds in performance art, textiles, and more. Delaine Le Bas was nominated for this year's Turner Prize so the talent involved in this project is impeccable.

New Aberdeen Bestiary - Unexplored territories along the margins - draws inspiration from the 12th-century illuminated manuscript known as the Aberdeen Bestiary, which has been a part of the University of Aberdeen's collection since the 17th century. Bestiaries, popular in the Middle Ages in northern Europe, combine descriptions of animals with symbolic interpretations, and this modern interpretation continues that tradition.

Artists Abdulrazaq Awofeso and Sadie Main, pictured with exhibition curator Nuno Sacramento at Aberdeen Art Gallery

Nuno Sacramento, exhibition curator and director of Peacock & The Worm, said: “The New Aberdeen Bestiary project has gathered new stories and voices over the past three years. It is rooted in Peacock’s ethos of making, using contemporary art and printmaking to propose an ethos of collaborative working.

For the exhibition, each artist selected an animal, real or mythical, exploring its symbolic, social, and cultural significance through a series of prints. These artworks were initially presented individually at The Worm, Peacock's gallery space, and are now united for the first time at the Aberdeen Art Gallery as part of the studio's anniversary celebrations.

Peacock - a workshop for art, established in 1974 and named after Frances Peacock, an 18th-century Scottish dancing master, has evolved significantly over the decades. The studio has supported artistic projects, from traditional printmaking to multimedia and performance art, reflecting its commitment to collaboration and community engagement.

This exhibition marks a huge milestone for Peacock and enriches Aberdeen's cultural landscape. You can find the New Aberdeen Bestiary exhibition in Gallery 16 at Aberdeen Art Gallery from 8 Jun until 5 January.