Pigs and Dogs (80 Pieces), 2016, Ink and Watercolour on paper

Pigs and Dogs

Belconnen Arts Centre, 24 June - 17 July 2016

As a very young child, the first discrimination we are taught is not based on the colour of skin, or the gender of a person. The very first time society tells us that one life is inherently more valuable than another is when we are taught to love our dog, but eat our bacon.

Pigs and dogs share a multitude of physical and emotional attributes.  They are both omnivorous, highly sociable, and intelligent creatures who have the capacity to feel pain and fear, comfort and joy.  Despite these similarities, we love one as a member of our family, and grow and harvest the other as if it were a field of wheat.

The Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China receives international condemnation each year for the slaughter and consumption of an animal defined by the western community as a “pet”.  If the logic is sound that it is wrong to eat dogs, it follows that the protest of dog meat is inherently hypocritical if that same protester continues to consume an animal based on the arbitrary distinctions of “pet” and “livestock”.

In this exhibition, I have carefully drawn and painted these animals as the individuals that they are.  Displayed side by side, I hope to present the pigs and dogs in these portraits as equally deserving of respect and empathy, and to highlight the injustice of seeing one as friend and the other as food.

For more information about these issues see: http://thefirstdiscrimination.wordpress.com/