exhibition review: life captured
As human beings, we are able to feel and make sense of the world around us. We know what it is to experience joy and freedom and pain, and, most importantly, sympathy or empathy when we witness suffering. Yet when it comes to animal suffering, many of us are indifferent or can’t properly connect a non-human animal’s pain to our own. There is a great deal of ethical and moral debate surrounding the issue of animals in captivity and, with more and more animals becoming endangered or extinct, and stories of those in captivity injuring and, in some cases, killing their caretakers, it is only a matter of time before we begin to question our reasons for keeping these naturally wild and free creatures in caged or controlled environments.
Sydney based artist Eleni Nakopolous addresses these issues in her current exhibition ‘Life Captured’, a series of paintings that hopes to inspire and make a difference, forcing audiences to ponder the way our society treats animals and whether there could be other, ethically viable ways.
Nakopoulos’s motivation behind ‘Life Captured’ was inspired by a visit to the zoo, and the seven paintings, which have been described as “electrified wildlife”, encompass wiry, erratic lines that somehow find each other to form beautiful, full pictures of animals, capturing not only the beauty, but the sadness behind it.
“My aim is to show the beauty of each of these creatures, but with a sinister underpinning that appears by way of a cage or fence, that only becomes obvious in most cases when each painting is closely inspected.
“I’d like to provoke the thought. Not just ‘this is specifically on animals’ but also how we live as people, as a society in general, the way we see our future and what we’re going to leave behind.”
‘Life Captured’, Nakopoulos’s second solo exhibition, is the result of two year’s hard work. The artist, who was referred to the South Australian School of Art by a high school teacher, initially found success as an art director, and creative director of a major Australian advertising agency before returning to her true passion as an artist.
“My [inspiration] usually comes from things that have been sitting around in my head for a while, things that I need to express, and whatever’s there at that particular moment, it comes out in my paintings.
“The animals, they are not ours; they belong to the earth – just like we do.”
When: Tues, 4th March – Sat, 15th March 2014 from 11am – 6pm
Where: The Depot Gallery II, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo, Sydney.