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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Local Talent Featured at Desert Museum Baldwin Gallery

“Desert Fables: Illustrations from The Neotenic Queen” opens at the Baldwin Gallery at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on September 1. The show will feature wildlife artist Rachel Ivanyi’s captivating illustrations from The Neotenic Queen: Tales of Sex and Survival in the Sonoran Desert, a collection of short stories on the animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert written by Alejandro Canelos. Both artist and author will be at the opening reception on September 1, from 4 to 6pm. The exhibition will remain at the Baldwin Gallery through October 29.
Ivanyi is an award-winning contemporary nature artist, illustrator and art educator, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology and a Graduate Certification in Natural Science Illustration. Ivanyi’s natural history-style watercolor paintings portray dramatic scenes from Canelos’s book, combining scientific accuracy and magical realism to capture the characters at pivotal moments in their journey. At the show, Ivanyi’s paintings and their preliminary pencil sketches will be accompanied by story excerpts adding context and the author’s voice.
Says Canelos, “It all started with a snake named Jake, who wanted a different point of view. I learned that rattlesnakes climb trees, regrow broken fangs and form close familial bonds.” From these and other revelations, 25 stories emerged that blend biology and fantasy in equal measure. Born in Nogales and raised in Tucson, Canelos majored in biology at Harvard. In 2020, he devoted himself to writing fiction. “Growing up in Tucson, chasing snakes and lizards and bugs, I took the extremes of the desert for granted. It wasn’t until I studied evolutionary biology that I really appreciated the everyday miracles of adaptation.” Canelos conferred with biologists from the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, the University of Arizona and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Location: Baldwin Gallery, 2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson. For more information, visit

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