For the past few years, I’ve wanted to make artwork that makes a statement about factory farming. The common viewpoint amongst our culture is that abuse against animals we see as pets, like cats and dogs, is vile and outrageous. Every year, I watch as people lose their minds over the Yulin Dog Meat Festival where upwards of 17,000 cats and dogs are killed every year. The animals are kept in tiny cramped cages, beaten, boiled and skinned alive amongst other heinous acts. As people demonize Asian culture, they fail to realize that they take part in this atrocious behavior every day. 
Billions of cows, chickens, and pigs are slaughtered daily on factory farms, a large portion of them face the same fate of being beaten or boiled and skinned alive, all of them crammed into tiny metal cages not suited for their size. Again, this is amongst other acts of cruelty enacted upon them by humans that work on the factory farms. What makes these two sets of animals different from each other? Why is it ok for one set to be treated in such a manner and not the other? Why are cows, chickens, and pigs seen as the lesser animal when they have the same level of intelligence and sentience as cats and dogs? The only difference is in the human mind. 
I decided to confront this issue through the use of exaggeration. In various religions, such as Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam, certain animals are worshipped and forbidden to be eaten. Referencing this ideology as well as the aesthetic of the portrayal of Byzantine saints, I depicted a cow, a chicken, a pig each as a patron saint of something that these animals suffer through (mastistis, breast augmentation, and confinement respecitvely). I photographed the subject holding objects pertaining to each animal (milk, an egg, and a book on nonviolence) and draped it in curtains and a dress that I bought from Goodwill. For the animal heads, I bought stock photos of each animal from Adobe Stock and then used Photoshop to edit the images together. I transferred the images onto wood panels and painted them with gold leaf and red paint. The panels are framed with PVC piping spray painted silver to reference the confinement of the metal cages and environments where the animals spend the duration of their short lives. 
For my BFA project, I wanted to try to get people to see cows, chickens, and pigs differently. By exaggerating the status of these animals, perhaps people will pause to think about how they see them which in turn may hopefully get them thinking about the choices they make when they eat. Animal cruelty is animal cruelty.