The Elephant, Polar Bear, Rhino and Chicken, as judges. Coyote, with his fancy burning earth talking stick, as lawyer. There are benches for humans to sit and listen! What would our animal brethren say about us? Now at the National Mall in Washington DC from July 13th till September 3rd, in collaboration with PETA.
The Council of Animals (what to do about the monkeys) is a piece to encourage dialogue amongst the planetary family. Three large metal animals - an elephant, a polar bear, and a rhino - make up the judges. A chicken is making an appearance as a PETA representative, perched on Rhino. Coyote is here too, with his fancy burning earth talking stick, as intermediary. There are benches for the humans. If the animals could speak our language, what would they have to say about the way we treat them?
It was a surprise, as a young person, when I realized that none of my classmates thought of themselves as animals, that they thought of themselves as somehow separate, superior, like we were dropped in from another reality. I grew up close to the dirt, with animals as friends and foes alike, as equals. So it was a shock, in that fifth grade classroom -wait, what? I've been thinking about it ever since.
We are one family, on one planet. The human race, the elephant race, all of the animal & insect & fish & plant races, we are all part of the same family. Humans are not special! We are just good at using our hands, and equipped with powerful language-equipped minds. We can use them to do better, we can make up for our past mistakes, we have a judgement to answer to. And we can. We can make the world a wonderful place for all of our family. But we must choose to do so, and engage a positive future.
So, this piece. To be judged, by the animals. We're all in it together, we are one family. Let's talk about it.
I'm very proud to announce that PETA is hosting the piece in Washington DC for the summer.
The Council will be on display at the National Mall from July 13 - Sept 3, 2023
The original sketch.
The large animals were built using CAD, and CNC plasmacut patterns, which is a cost-effective way to build large sculptures. I also work by hand for the details - their eyes, tails, and staff were all forged out of steel, and the chicken was all done with hammers and a grinder. That's the physical part. But it's a lot of mental work, too, I study the animal relentlessly, until I can feel them, or a mirror of them in my mind, and I let my hands and eyes find them in form, and attitude. I spend a lot of time making little adjustments, until they are suddenly present!