These paintings are an expression of the tremendous grief that I and so many other activists feel around how humans commoditize and hurt animals. Each painting I make involves a lot of sitting with the grief that comes up, and through creating the finished piece I feel I have honored that animal in some small way. Each painting could be seen as a memorial, and the process of painting it, a ceremony. My goal in sharing this work is to draw out our grief and sadness so we can touch those places in ourselves- and thus start to work on healing them. As activists, we often become overwhelmed with feelings of frustration, anger, and despair. Through my paintings, I hope to reconnect us to that place of vulnerability from which our compassion is born.
My art is strongly influenced by religious motifs from Himalayan Buddhism. As this has been the spiritual language present in my life since early childhood, it speaks deeply to me on concepts such as death, purity, and the sacredness of all sentient life. By using this imagery I aim to invoke a sense of sacredness around these individual lives that are lost in the most profane of ways.
I hope to create a window into their suffering more approachable than graphic photos. While for some viewing such photos catalyzes a transition to veganism, others feel overwhelmed and push them away. Paintings with some graphic elements but a more ethereal or dreamlike setting than a slaughterhouse may be more comfortable to let in and explore. With my art, I invite you to reflect on our relationship with animals in a deeper way.