September 19, 2014
An art exhibition opens this weekend featuring works depicting animals herded
in concentration camps awaiting slaughter.
Artist Jo Frederiks is a woman passionate about her animal rights beliefs.
Her vision is simple - to stop humans consuming animals.
Growing up on a large Queensland cattle station gave her a love for animals and
nature. A full time artist who became a vegetarian 20 years ago, she had what
she calls "a light bulb" moment. Overnight she became a vegan and
then an animal activist against factory farming.
She told J-Wire: "My family does not share or understand my beliefs on the
sanctity of animal life."
Asked if she had the power to change just one thing regarding animal welfare, Ms
Frederiks said it was impossible to pick one aspect and just "wants the world to
stop consuming animals". She believes we have all been "brainwashed from birth
about our need to consume animal protein to be healthy".
Devoted to animal liberation, the artist labels the millions of animals
slaughtered worldwide every week as "violent ideology".
These strong beliefs have inspired her upcoming exhibition entitled The Animal
Treblinka, a book by Charles Patterson was the inspiration for the exhibition.
The Nazis established Treblinka as an extermination camp and Patterson's book
shows the corollary between Nazi genocide and modern society's enslavement and
slaughter of animals.
The book's title comes from Isaac Bashevis Singer who wrote that "for the
animals it is the eternal Treblinka". "Animals feel pain as much as humans" the
Ms Frederiks strongly emphasises that it is not her intention to offend or upset
When asked whether it is appropriate to utilise well known images of the
Holocaust, the artist explained that she was inspired by quotations from
concentration camp survivors and writers such as Isaac Bashevis Singer, Rachel
Carson and Theodor Adorno who wrote "Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at
a slaughterhouse and thinks: they are only animals."
However there are some who have been upset by her depiction of animals being
led to slaughter. She was forced to remove some art from her Facebook page owing
to strong criticism from the animal agricultural industry. "There are no gray
areas in my work" she told J-Wire.
Frederiks has been inspired by the writings of established authors bearing
strong views regarding animal welfare. She gave J-Wire some of her favourite
quotes which she said had been a source of inspiration.
In their behaviour towards creatures, all men are Nazis. Human beings see
oppression vividly when they're the victims. Otherwise they victimise blindly
and without a thought. - Isaac Bashevis Singer Auschwitz begins whenever someone
looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they are only animals. - Theodor Adorno
Poor countries sell their grain to the west while their own children starve
in their arms. And the west feeds it to livestock, so we can eat a steak? Am I
the only one who sees this as a crime? Every morsel of meat we eat is slapping
tear stained face of a hungry child. - Philip Wollen
What do they know - all these scholars, all these philosophers, all the leaders
of the world? They have convinced themselves that man, the worst transgressor of
all species, is the crown of creation. All other creatures were created merely
to provide him with food, pelts, to be tormented, exterminated. In relation to
them, all people are Nazis: for the animals it is the eternal Treblinka. - Isaac
Until we have the courage to recognise cruelty for what it is - whether its
victim is human or animal - we cannot expect things to be much better in this
world… We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living
creature. By every act that glorifies or even tolerates such moronic delight in
killing we set back the progress of humanity - Rachel Carson
The exhibition opens on the Gold Coast on September 19 and includes 40 major
works and 100 drawings. For more details go to www.jofrederiks.com