The idea for Teresa Knight’s latest exhibit — which she curated — stems from two international courts passing laws that make certain animals “non-human persons.”
“The inspiration for the show comes from my having found out two separate international courts passed laws that gave rights to certain animals by calling them persons, by calling them non-human persons. They said, this animal is an animal, but it’s also a person — inside there, there’s a person,” Knight said.
Knight said that people who have had pets know there is a person inside of their pet.
“It’s not just a cardboard cutout,” Knight said. “But somehow when it goes to cows or dolphins or this or that, people put this shade down and say, ‘That’s just an animal.’ No, there’s a person in there.”
The exhibit which is hanging at the MAC for the month of August has been about a year in the works, according to Knight.
She said she put a call out to artists to see if anyone else had come up with works trying to show the person inside of the animal. She added that she got people responding from across the country.
“I really accepted anybody who was trying to do exactly what I asked. Those people who ended up (at the MAC), were people who could actually get their art here,” Knight said.
The Non-Human Persons show features work from Carla Stein, Fiona Hawkes, Katerina Pravdivaia and Ian Fry.
Stein said the Non-Human Persons show fit seamlessly with work she’s been doing over the past few years.
“When Teresa put out this call I was like, ‘OK, it’s really nice to know other people are on the same page,” Stein said.
Stein said her pieces focus on the wolf cull in the province.
“I started doing a series around opposing wolf cull and wanting to make people more aware of the fact that these animals are being butchered in the most inhumane ways that you can imagine and without any real cause and without any scientific data to support it,” Stein said.
Hawkes’ work is a series of whale drawings with its eyes being the focal point of each piece. In her artist’s statement, she said have the viewer open up their mind to the things these animals have endured because of human ignorance.
Pravdivaia’s work is a series of animal heads on human bodies. In her artist’s statement, she said she aims to unite human and non-human animals as one to promote discussion of a shifting paradigm.
Fry’s work is the wild horses of the Chilcotin. In his artist’s statement, he said their intelligence and intuition of the land has sustained them since before people came.
Knight said she’d curated a show at the MAC before about how animals fit in when places get urbanized.
“We’ll see what the next one is in two years,” Knight said.