November 04, 2023 - November 11, 2023
When a pet dies, I find myself profoundly moved within a complex emotional landscape
of grief, memory and longing. I have empathy for the often traumatic memories
engendered by the loss of a beloved pet and have been asked to create memorials for
other grieving pet owners.
The ceramic sculptures in Per(pet)ual Memorium (2023) are embedded with fragments
of the pets’ favourite soft toys and bone ash: enduring reminders of their lives. My work
excavates the connection between anthropomorphism and attachment theory, exploring
the bonds forged between humans and animals. Each life-size ceramic sculpture
memorialising a cherished pet is imbued with the emotions, memories and trauma
arising from the loss of the animal companion. Childlike hands and feet transform the
animal sculptures into hybrid creatures, reflecting the tendency of pet owners to treat
their pets like children or an important human equivalent.
While my work is rooted in personal experience, I believe that it speaks to a wider
audience of animal lovers who are often confronted with a complete lack of
comprehension concerning the death of a pet. Some individuals regard companion
animals as ungrievable and replaceable - ‘you can get another puppy’ - negating both
the relationship and the profound grief of the pet owner.
My work creates an intimate space for reflection and dialogue. It encourages others to
explore their relationships with their pets and how they shape our lives.
Per(pet)ual Memorium | The Viewing Room Art Gallery | (+27)66 274 2094 | Date 4 – 11 November