A unique art exhibition opened in Manitoba over the weekend, but not in a gallery or even a city: a Saskatchewan artist unveiled a life-sized dollhouse in a southwestern field.
From Highway 2, near the Saskatchewan border, it doesn't look like much; only a painted sign of a family holding hands suggests anything unusual about this particular abandoned farmhouse, one of many.
Around back, the north-facing wall of the house has been replaced with Plexiglas, showcasing its interior, fully restored with candy-coloured walls and furniture from the 1960s, when the home was abandoned.
Heather Benning worked nearly 18 months on the project, entitled Dollhouse.
"I wanted to show the passage of time… I was able to show what it looked like before it was left, but then what it looks like now, you know, 35 years later," said Benning.
"I chose to leave the porch on there, which is rotted out, and [leave] everything to look quite rustic on the outside."
Benning said she was inspired by abandoned farmhouses close to herchildhood home near Humboldt, Sask.
"We used to have an abandoned farm on my father's land where I grew up, and I used to play there a lot when I was younger," she told CBC. "I'd play inside the house and set it up and stage it and things like that."
Ruby Busby, a resident of nearby Reston, visited the house Saturday.
Busby can remember driving past the house in the 1960s, when it was still occupied.She was surprised to see its restoration.
"Well, I couldn't believe it, it was so nice," she said. "It was very cute, I think, and just like it was years ago, probably."
Benning created Dollhouse while serving as artist-in-residence for Redvers, Sask., about 30 kilometres west of the house.
Although she has only a few months left in her term, she plans to leave the house on display until it becomes unsafe.
The house is located off Highway 2 near Sinclair, Man.