PIT BULL FLOWER POWER EXHIBIT
When my book launched in October 2018, I created this accompanying exhibit. I have always dreamed my work as multi-disciplinary. I believe that immersive experiences are a very powerful way to connect with the viewer, and, in the case of shelter dogs, to bring awareness of their fate.
I am hoping to tour with this exhibit. If you are a potential sponsor or have a space that could welcome this project, please get in touch with me. I am looking in particular at: Miami, Austin, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Portland. Maybe San Francisco and Atlanta too.
The red frame
Video installation / sculpture, 2018.
This piece is about the way we create narratives around things we don’t understand, and the way we feel the need to embellish things.
Over the years, I have visited many shelters and rescues of all kinds, from huge open-admission (“kill”) shelters with high turn-around, to small isolated “no kill” rural shelters. Although many dogs are doing fine in the shelter environment, it can be too much for a lot of them and I would compare it to solitary confinement. This is Connor. He was a high-strung pittie who was desperately trying to connect with a couple of people who were walking among the kennels (he was adopted later). If you swipe, you’ll see his portraits. The bouncing was maddening to me and I often thought about him over the years.
For dogs who are in “no kill” shelters, the wait can last a lifetime. I photographed dogs who had been waiting 10 years in a cage and had developed mental illnesses or unhealthy behaviors. How could they not? In the animal welfare community, people tend to favor “no kill” shelters and insist that all lives must be saved at any cost. But what about the invisible cost that these animals pay? Their distress, their mental health? There is something grand about saving animals and in a way that’s when our humanity shines the brightest. But when you have witnessed as much as I have, you question the idea of “saving lives at all cost”, and what that cost really means. “No kill” is a glorious concept, but the reality of it isn’t that simple. I am not sure stacking up dogs in a warehouse just to keep them alive is very humane.
This piece is a reflection on the dichotomy between saving animals, a beautiful, grand act, which is philosophically fascinating, and the reality of that act and the responsibility that comes with.