Artemisia, my year-old Vizsla, sprawls out on a splayed cowhide. Nude, I perch on a pink swathe of suede. Many people will not purchase leather, even though they still consume meat. What they don’t realize is that leather is considered a remnant, a coproduct of the meat industry. 72 billion animals are killed worldwide every year for human consumption. Though people express misgivings over purchasing leather or fur products, few will forgo a meal with chicken, beef, or pork.
By a similar illogic, I know people who have no qualms about the ingestion of meat or animal products—yet simultaneously love their cat or dog like family. I don’t understand this disconnection between the animals that we live with and the animals that we happily consume. All are the same. I would even argue that we too are animals—or, to put it another way, that animals also have minds and souls.
This performance work challenges the viewer to acknowledge the parity between human and animal beings by drawing direct parallels between the human body and these animal hides. Since Artemisia came into my life, I became more inspired to eat more vegetarian and vegan.