I walked into Bondi Pavilion’s Gallery not really knowing what to expect. Knowing the premise of the exhibition, I was scared I might’ve been going to see confronting images of rescued farm animals in ways I wouldn’t want to see them portrayed.
Yes, they were confronting, but not in the way you would first think.
These incredible, beautiful animals donned the walls of the gallery like they belonged there; like they had a message to send.
Sweet and cuddly Xavier.
Shy and gentle Spot.
Friendly and considerate Wendall.
I AM SOMEONE, an exhibition by Gary Sheppard in collaboration with the Where Pigs Why Farm Sanctuary aims to reconstruct society’s perception of farmed animals and for people to understand that these animals deserve to be treated with respect and compassion through a range of emotive portraits.
Alex from Where Pigs Why approached me to ask if I’d visited the sanctuary yet, and we spoke about the little community that these wonderful animals have created for themselves.
“We see some funny companionship’s between animals,” she said.
“Like Bubbles [the pig] and Seamus [the sheep]. Seamus is Blind so little Bubbles was his guide when he came to the sanctuary.”
Each of these gorgeous creatures showed their numerous personalities in the portraits, and their roles in the community were explained. I found it so overwhelmingly incredible that this society seemed to be formed just like a human society would be, realising that I wouldn’t have realised this without knowing about the sanctuary.
Wellness enthusiast and fellow Vegan Dara Hayes (a.k.a DJ Tigerlily) proudly shone at the event, addressing and officially opening the exhibition.
Dara Hayes spoke about her experiences at the sanctuary. (Photo: Alexander Robinson)
“Each year 72 billion animals are bread and slaughtered by humans. That’s 200 million animals every single day. And that’s only land animals.
When we talk of these big numbers, unfortunately the impact is often lost. … it’s far too much for our brains to comprehend.”
Award winning photographer Gary Sheppard also spoke at the opening, saying that animal welfare rights have grown in the public perception to be a mainstream concern.
Award winning photographer Gary Sheppard. (Photo: Alexander Robinson)
“Humanity is deeply connected with and dependent on the web of life that has been weaved over these millions of years,” he said.
“I suspect that in a hundred years people will look back in horror at how we treat animals now.”
The animals featured in the exhibition reside at Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary where many rescued farm animals reside, and all proceeds from calendars and prints for sale as well as any donations go to their non-for-profit charity to assist in their outreach work.
Additionally, an auction was held for a framed photograph of loving donkey trio; Lily, Phil and Senõrita, which sold for an incredible $660, with a last minute decision that the photograph would also be signed by the photographer himself.
Loving trio Lily, Phil and Senõrita. (Photo: Alexander Robinson)
This exhibition made me feel warm and especially grateful to be surrounded by these wonderful, peaceful creatures. It has made me gain more respect and passion for animals around me, and you’ll want to experience this too.
“Every single animal is worth saving, worth fighting for… just like us,” said Dara.
“Get to know their names, that’s what I AM SOMEONE is all about.”
Information on the Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary can be found here.
I AM SOMEONE
19 NOVEMBER – 1 DECEMBER 2019 (10am to 5pm daily)
BONDI PAVILION GALLERY
QUEEN ELIZABETH DRIVE, BONDI BEACH, SYDNEY