Hirst and the Orca

Most humans love animals and love to be entertained by them. It thus comes as a great shock to most that a nice-looking beast such as an orca whale could kill its trainer. It is terrible indeed, but not surprising to me.

There couldn’t be something as evil to me as keeping an animal which lives in open waters in a tank just for the pleasure of the spectators. It is a gruesome thing to do to any free being and especially to a whale.

This terrible story made me think of Damian Hirst‘s series of works using dead animals preserved in formaldehyde. Controversial as they are, it is not a matter of simply liking them or not. Much more important is their role as questioners of our relationship to animals.

These artworks have always got me thinking about the use we make of animals. If killing them in large scales for eating, dressing and so forth is acceptable, why not put dead beasts on display for the sake of art?

It is high time we stopped with practices that in one way or the other damage the environment or disturb nature just for our selfishly human need for animal entertainment.

Hirst’s artistic approach to matters of life and death couldn’t be more appropriate.


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