GOOSEBERRY Hill artist Grace Fowler wants people to open their eyes to the way animals are forced into “unnatural situations just for entertainment”.
The 18-year-old once used art as an escape from stress and drama at school but now uses it to express her opinions and campaign for “radical” change.
One of Grace’s most poignant pieces that advocates for animal rights is The horse with no name which is being displayed at the Art Gallery of WA as part of the Year 12 Perspectives exhibition.
The former Kalamunda Senior High School student said the piece was created to raise awareness and highlight the darker side of the racing industry in Australia, and how animal cruelty and disregard of the horse’s welfare was covered up by the media.
“It is a statement piece created to provoke a response from people who view it, whether that is sadness at the deaths of so many horses or anger, or anything else,” she said.
“It is to demand a reaction.
“There needs to be a radical attitude change in the industry, where the focus is about appreciating the horse as a horse and not as a money making machine.”
As an animal lover and animal rights campaigner, Grace said the idea for the piece came after the 2016 Melbourne Cup, when she saw an image of a racehorse bleeding from its nostrils.
“After researching I was shocked and immediately decided to base my next piece on this issue, to raise awareness and portray the emotion I felt towards this topic,” she said.
“I want people to ultimately stop and think of how we as humans force animals into unnatural situations just for entertainment.
“I want people to no longer be ignorant to how many lives are lost each year.
“One hundred and thirty seven racehorses died over the last year, which is about one death every three days in Australia.”
Grace said the racing culture could still exist, but that animal cruelty practices must be eradicated.
“If any other animal was publicly whipped to run faster from pain and fear, would societies attitudes be the same?” she said.
“I don’t think so.”
Year 12 Perspectives
Until Monday, July 16
Art Gallery of WA
Perth Cultural Centre, Roe Street in Perth