Activism Responding to the Impacts of Animal Cruelty

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Painting by Dana Ellyn ย 

Moving from the general to the more specific issues concerning animal cruelty. I will be looking at why this topic is important and affects all of us and that this is why so many visual artists and activists are incorporating anti-animal cruelty into their works. Why do people abuse animals? Animals are innocent creature that Mother Nature has created. They are here to co-habit with us. They are not here for us to abuse, neglect, or rule. Every living creature has the right to live in peace. It is our social and moral responsibility as human beings to ensure that no living being is abused and neglected, human or animal.

Many individual artists know this and incorporate animal cruelty into their works. There are even whole organizations such as PETA who have activists dedicated to this cause. This activism is done in a number of ways. Through visual protests, campaigns, posters, photography, etc. Sometimes activism done through art can have a more profound effect on people than by simply lecturing or giving facts about the cause, especially if these artists and activists have agency within the community. Viewers are able to visually see the effects without the message being too overbearing and are able to interpret the message for themselves as well as feel the impact. I have researched many ways in which this can be done. Through graffiti, public protests, artwork, and art installations just to name a few. Nicholas Mirzoeff in Chapter 7 of How to See the World tells us โ€œGraffiti is a way to reclaim public space for discussion. It can reach people who might not see mainstream media let alone go to an art gallery (264). A very informative website that I found, OneGreenPlanet, showcases many artists and their works of activism, such as Gale Hart who is a sculptor, painter, and multimedia artist. In 2010 Gale released a collection of work titled Why Not Eat Your Pet that focuses โ€œon the hypocrisy of human treatment of food animals.โ€ PETA also has a link on their website that highlights artists such as Jo Frederiks, Dana Ellyn and Banksy just to name a few who use pictures and art to speak up about animal rights. In my final post I will go more in depth with the mediums and strategies used by these artists to communicate this global issue.


Works Cited

โ€œArt and Activism: A Spotlight On Animal Rights Activists (Part 1).โ€ One Green Planet. One Green Planet, 15 Dec. 2011. Web. 25 May 2017.

โ€œPicture Perfect: Artists Speak Up for Animal Rights.โ€ PETA Australia. PETA Australia, 15 Nov. 2016. Web. 25 May 2017.

Mirzoeff, Nicholas.ย How to see the world. Great Britain: Pelican, 2015. Print.


Te Ao Hurihuri: Animal Cruelty

Te ao hurihuri identifies the current moment as a part of a series of events that began with first contact and settlement and continues until the present moment. It acknowledges how contemporary shifts in technology and cultural development are located in relation to wider historical influences and connections and affects future social, political and cultural structures and discourse.

For this project we are asked to investigate and respond to a social, cultural, economic, political or environment issue of our choice. I have decided to focus on animal cruelty and animal rights specifically in the United States. I believe this topic is current and relevant and I will be able to find numerous visual elements I can utilize. I have already found several artists that have dedicated entire projects and pieces of work to animal cruelty. Through this type of visual activism they have the ability to get their message out to a wider audience in a creative way. I will be focusing on animal rights laws in the United States, if those laws are actually being followed and on a wide variety of peopleโ€™s opinions on this critical topic. One idea I have in mind is to showcase the evolution of visual activism with the advances and changes in technology and how this has influenced the way people are able to portray their opinions on social issues as well as what is now socially acceptable to show which might have been too extreme in the past. I am looking forward to delving further into this topic as well as seeing what my peers have chosen and being able to help and provide feedback on their work as well as receive constructive feedback on my work.