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Miriam Fabijan

  • born in 1960 in Calgary, Alberta
  • parents emigrated from Slovenia in 1949
  • B.F.A., University of Calgary (1984); M.F.A., Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia (1989)

expanded images click on thumbnails at left to view larger images

Miriam Fabijan's visits to Slovenia in 1966, 1976, and again in 1992 had a profound impact on her art making, marking the beginning of her investigations into her Slovenian heritage and roots. Her art often takes the form of multimedia installations, with a particular emphasis on family photographs, as memory and conduits of partial incomplete narratives. In Translations; My Hat Has Three Holes (1992), Fabijan juxtaposed photographs of herself, her paternal grandfather from Slovenia and her father with the text of a popular Slovenian children’s rhyme, which Fabijan had learned as a child. The poem was written in Slovenian in Fabijan’s mother’s handwriting and the English version was written by the artist. This installation is not merely a literal translation of a Slovenian poem into English but also a translation of one medium, language, into another, a photographic installation. Slovenian words pervade the Translations series, reflecting the artist’s commitment to exploring the experience of exile and the ways in which language shapes the multiple dimensions of diasporic identities. Hisa, the Slovenian word for house, is a photograph framed in a decorative oak frame and stand of Fabijan’s mother’s ancestral home, taken by Fabijan during a trip to Slovenia in 1992. Translations includes the voice of a Slovenian woman, and is not translated, in this reflecting the artist’s desire to prevent the viewer’s access to all meanings. These undecipherable aspects of the installation allude to the problems immigrants face when they are faced with having to assimilate a new culture and language and also reflect the artist’s own struggle with her partial comprehension of the Slovenian language and culture. Ena pticka mi poje, pa sam ne vem kje (A little bird sings to me, but I do not know from where) incorporates a sound installation placed in an oak suitcase engraved with chromatec lettering. This phrase refers to Slovenia as reminiscent of a bird, in a passage that appears on a wall of a monastery designed by the Slovenian architect Jose Plecnik. Chosen by the artist to signify her state of longing it also suggests the impossibility of attaining closure and reaching a state of belonging. Attached to the framed chromatec lettering is the outline of the map of Slovenia. Fabijan explains that the map of Slovenia is reminiscent of a bird, a theme which is referred to in the text from the monastery.



1994 Toronto Photographers Workshop, Toronto, Ontario


1993 Translations; My Hat Has Three Holes
Galerie Oboro, Montréal, Québec


1992 Translations
Galerija Equrna, Ljubljana, Slovenia (travelling); Beneska Galerija, Speter/San Pietro Al Natisone, Italy


1991 The Shade of a Shadow
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta (travelling)


1987 Images
Off Centre Centre Gallery, Calgary, Alberta


1986 Living in Another's Room
Latitude 53 Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta


1985 Once
Or Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia



Nickle Arts Museum, Calgary, Alberta


1995 Les Ateliers s'exposent 1995
Cobalt art actuel, Montréal, Québec


1992 Day, Fabijan, Jolicoeur (Voies/voix ou l'identité et la question de la sujet en art
Galerie l'ouevre de l'autre, Chicoutimi, Québec


1990 La bouche dans le mur
The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta

Red, Green, Blue, Black and White
Walter Phillips Gallery of Contemporary Art, Banff, Alberta


1988-87 Young Contemporaries '87
London Regional Art Gallery, London, Ontario (travelling)


1985 Points North
Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta

Assemblage 1
381 1/2 Talbot Street, London, Ontario, Canada

Separate Spaces
Second Story Gallery (2SG), Calgary, Alberta


1984 Free Three Minutes (Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers super 8mm film project)
The National Film Board Theatre, Calgary, Alberta




Banff Centre Collection, Banff, Alberta
Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, Calgary, Alberta
Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, Ontario
Nova Corporation Collection, Calgary, Alberta
Walter Phillips Gallery for Contemporary Art, Banff, Alberta




"Acts of Translation." Parallelogramme 19, no.4 (1994): 78.

Cron, Marie-Michèle, Gilles Daigneault, and Nicolas Baier, eds. Les ateliers s'exposent 1995. Montréal, Québec: Cobalt art actuel, 1995.

Fleming, Marnie, Stephen Andrews and Jacques Arsenault, eds. London Life: Young Contemporaries. London, Ontario: London Regional Art Gallery, 1987.

Goldwater, Helena. The Shade of a Shadow. Lethbridge, Alberta: Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 1991.

Kovic, Brane. Translations. Ljubljana, Slovenia: Equrna Gallery, 1992.

McAlear, Donna. Elemental Instincts: A Matter of Course. Calgary, Alberta: Nickle Arts Museum, 1988.

Oboro: Automne-Hiver 1992-1993. Montréal, Québec: 1992.

Stebbins, Joan, Louise Chance Baxter, and Blair Brennan, eds. Points North. Lethbridge, Alberta: Southern Alberta Art Gallery, 1986.


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