14 April 2016 - 1 May 2016 M16 Artspace, Canberra
In 2014, news stations all over the world followed the plight of the pig that risked jumping out of her truck bound for the slaughterhouse. She was rewarded for her desire for life by being adopted by the Guangxi police station in the usual place of the station’s police dog. This story is repeated over and over again throughout media all over the world. I am interested in the psychology of why people suddenly feel empathetically connected to an animal only once it has actively shown an interest in surviving. Why is this empathy limited to the individual and not extended to the pigs at the bottom of the truck or on their dinner plates?
‘Prove it’ is an exhibition to explore the phenomenon of escaped livestock being saved from the slaughterhouse by the media. Playing on the relationship between print and painting, copy and original, this mass installation of works aims to shed light on our selective empathy towards animals that have ‘proved’ their will to live.
The use of medium is conceptually important as the prints represent the mass produced perception of the general pig population and the painted works represent the individualized pigs that have been given a unique personality by the media. The exhibition is about stories and their power. Prove it aims to create a welcoming and entertaining environment to reflect and discuss these stories and the way in which people have responded to them.
My interest in the lives of animals arose when I began to learn more about the reality behind what I was putting in my stomach. My work aims to question in a creative and non-threatening way the industrialised practice of farming, slaughtering and consuming animals and their products. I want to question the social conditioning surrounding meat consumption and the cognitive dissonance that is surely felt by seeing oneself as an animal lover whilst at the same time valuing an animal’s life as nothing more than the price of a packet of bacon.