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ARK: Widget

2005 - 2007

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. When the levees failed much of the city was left in ruins and under water. And with no adequate evacuation plans thousands of pets were left behind. ARK is an installation commemorating the heroic work, done by Best Friends Animal Society and hundreds of volunteers, who answered the call, put their lives on hold, and went to save the animals lost in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It is a collage on canvas stretched over a wooden boat shaped frame. The dimensions were taken from one of the “Jon” boats used to rescue animals during the flood.Before starting this work I invited volunteers to send me their photos from the rescue. By using these first-hand images in my collage, the artwork became a collaborative effort, as well as retaining the emotions of the moment. I offer my greatest thanks and appreciation to all the volunteers who responded and sent me their photos. In the same spirit of collaboration I invited everyone attending the opening reception at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to participate in the artwork by writing a prayer for New Orleans. The prayers will become a permanent part of the artwork and placed in the bottom of the boat. These images and prayers give the work an added meaning and significance.

Often in my artwork I return to the notion that physical objects can become emotionally “charged” and trigger-forgotten feelings. The objects used to create ARK have a direct relation to the rescue effort and the animals saved from Katrina. The first layer of collage uses copies of intake forms from the rescue. All the animals that came through Best Friends rescue center were photographed and documented with one of these forms. During my work at the center I became obsessed with the idea that I would one day make art using these intake forms. Successive layers are made using photographs, paper from dog and cat food bags and cat litter bags.

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