This month my member profile was included in the July AASA bulletin:
I grew up with a ‘brother’, a tangle of long knotted white hair, wet black nose and caring eyes; Pepe the poodle. Like many children, I loved my dog, and ate the body parts of other animals. Three experiences in childhood opened my heart to all animals; Blake’s poem ‘The Fly’, my elder sister’s well worn copy of Singer’s Animal Liberation, and being stuck in traffic next to a truck full of pigs, crammed tight, and making eye contact. Animals became my fellow creatures.
I’m currently completing a PhD in sculpture, at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. It’s practice-led research, and studio practice is a strange, unruly and wonderful thing. I commenced my research with an investigation into the empathic affect of figurative sculpture; sculptural objects that represented the lived experiences of the human body. However, the practice pulled me in directions that I initially resisted, refused and then finally succumbed to. My recent exhibition beautiful little dead things, 2014 consisted of a series of latex bodyskins, sacs and screens, and a series of wax fleshlumps. This work is a material and sculptural testimony about witnessing the atrocities committed to animals in food production. Now, the aim of my research is to consider the idea of bearing witness to animal suffering and death, particularly in the field of visual arts.
I’m excited about the direction my practice and research has taken me, and the reception it’s received. I’ve been very fortunate to be invited into an exhibition at the National Museum of Animals & Society, in LA next year, with some amazing artists such as Angela Singer and Yvette Watts whose work I greatly admire. These artists, amongst others, have really done the hard work, and paved the many ways that contemporary visual arts practice can engage with animals’ advocacy.
I live in Melbourne with my toddler, Wolfgang, who is also vegan. Raising a vegan child in a carnist world is a constant minefield and a daily reminder how much work is to be done in confronting the exploitation of animals.