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Arts

Local Artist gaining national recognition and global support

Katarina with installation
Katarina with installation

[C]umbrian Artist Katarina Prior creates topical, thought provoking art and installations. Locally she has encouraged people to spend time with the elderly through “Conversation with a Stranger”.

Regionally she inspired thousands of people to cherish time and consider the shortness of life through “Project Mayfly”. With the support of charity Farms Not Factories and the team at Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s “River Cottage” Katarina’s latest piece “Farm?” is gaining national recognition and support from people worldwide.

Katarina’s 1,023 hand crafted plaster of Paris pig sculptures, tightly packed together, representing intensive pig farming, are currently on display in the foyer at the Rheged Centre in Penrith. The installation is part of the acclaimed C-Art Sculpture Trail organised by Rheged in partnership with Eden Arts.

1000th pig “Hugh”
1000th pig “Hugh”

“Farm?” aims to raise awareness about the issues surrounding the intensive pig farming industry. Appreciating the growing public concern for food traceability and animal welfare, the installation hopes to raise awareness of and funds for, the charity Farms Not Factories. Each pig sculpture is for sale and 80% of the sale price is being donated to Farms Not Factories.

Farms Not Factories is a small not-for-profit organisation that works through campaigns and film-making to expose the true costs of cheap meat from factory farms to inspire people to only buy meat from local, high-welfare farms.

Farms Not Factories believes that pork from animal factories carries five heavy costs:

1.     Animal abuse through confinement, mutilation, exploitation, neglect and denial of natural behaviours.
2.     Due to the above, disease is rife in factory farms. To prevent these diseases the pigs are given routine doses of antibiotics. This overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria, that pass from pigs to humans.
3.     This so-called cheap pork flooding the market undermines the livelihoods of real farmers and rural economies.
4.     Waste effluent sickens local residents and pollutes local watercourses. Rainforest is destroyed to plant GM soya for pig feed. The soya is then treated with toxic pesticides that poison local people and wildlife.
5.     The globalisation of our livestock system, into the grip of giant multinational corporations, has resulted in the loss of food sovereignty.

When the entire installation of 1023 pigs is sold over £4000 will have been raised for Farms Not Factories. The pig sculptures can be reserved at Rheged until the 13th November, bought on the 12th November at The Winter Droving in Penrith Town Centre or bought on Katarina’s Etsy Shop – www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KatarinaPrior.

Katarina has been getting sales from all over England and abroad from as far as Germany and even America. Katarina will be at Rheged all day on Monday 14th November to talk to people about the installation.

The whole installation from above
The whole installation from above

Katarina’s interest in the food industry began many years ago after watching an early edition of the TV cookery programme “River Cottage” featuring Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall. Today Hugh and the Campaign Team at River Cottage can be credited with increasing public awareness of animal welfare worldwide.

Katarina thought River Cottage might like to know that they had nurtured her interest in the food industry and ultimately inspired “Farm”. She asked the River Cottage Team if they would like to name the 1000th pig which attracted the immediate response: “We’d love to! What an honour”. They chose to name the 1000th pig Hugh saying, “can we call it anything other than Hugh?! It’s got to be Hugh!”

Katarina was delighted with the name, saying: “It’s not every day you’re asked to name a piece of your sculpture, a pig, after one of your hero’s!”

Katarina, Artist, added:  “I think it’s essential that people like Hugh and organisations such as Farms Not Factories encourage people to think about what sort of meat they eat, where it came from and in what conditions the animals it came from were raised.”

Katarina, Artist said: “By confronting the audience with my representation of an intensive factory pig farm I hope to make them think about how some of the animals we eat are raised. About how the confined conditions may be affecting their health and wellbeing. Mostly I hope to encourage people to continue to demand traceability of factory farmed meat and appreciate meat produced from humanely reared, happy local animals.”

Katarina is very interested in the audience’s perception of her work and their thoughts about the food industry. Katarina has left out a comments book for people to voice their opinions.

One person wrote – “Lovely display, as pig farmers we appreciate your message. Thank you!”
Another wrote – “Should be no factory production of animals, pigs, cows or hens. Thank you for this. We don’t pay any attention to the importance of a good life and good death for our farm animals”

Katarina is currently busy creating even more pigs to be on display at The Winter Droving in Penrith which is on all day on the 12th November. People visiting will get a chance to share their thoughts about the piece with Katarina herself. This is something that Katarina is very excited about as she wishes to learn from her audience.

Adrian Lochhead, Eden Arts Director said “We are very happy to have Katarina at The Winter Droving.  Our agenda is very much around the notion of ‘Artists Being Useful’ i.e. artists contributing to the world and being part of wider issues.  Katarina’s pig project is just that.”

Katarina would like to thank Eden Arts and Rheged for their on-going support of her career, saying “the teams at both Eden Arts and Rheged have offered their time to give me guidance and advice, they have also given me the space to show my work to wide audiences, “Farm?” is reaching a far wider audience than I expected.”

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