Ethics, Excess and Extinction
An exhibition exploring the reality of endangered species and humanity's responsibility to protect them
Sometimes, we find ourselves ascribing animals a strong moral status while other times denying them any kind of status at all. Within this exhibition, artists explore animals’ role in our society and the value that human beings accord non-human animals within our moral system of right and wrong.
Through dramatic animal-liberation actions and similar tactics, animal rights activists have tried to encourage us to confront a difficult philosophical issue: whether animals, which are known to have feelings and psychological lives, ought to be treated as mere instruments of science and other human endeavors, or respected beings that are valued in our society.
The exhibition explores the reality of animal life: cruelty towards animals as seen through factory farming; the breeding of animals for their hides and fur; hunting animals for their potential medicinal powers; and an alternative vision of the world where all animals are respected and protected from suffering and commercial exploitation. The artists examine the many sides of the story: from the philosophical, where animals are regarded as emotional beings in which we recognize ourselves, to the economic, where animals are killed and sold to support the demands of luxury markets.
Artists have long expanded the boundaries of art to focus on significant social and environmental issues. In this exhibition, artists help us understand that we have the power to spare animals excruciating pain by making better choices about the food we eat, the things we buy, and the activities we support. Their stories told through their works can help us to write a new story about a world which values and connects all living things.