“Art only happens when the viewer says it happens.”
– Sue Coe
Sue Coe grew up next door to a slaughter house, where the rattling chains and screaming of animals led to kill went on through the night. As it was ignored by others it slowly became her obsession.
In the above video, directed by Our Hen House’s Executive Director, Jasmin Singer, as part of their Art of the Animal series, Sue takes the viewer on a verbal journey of the inspiration behind her thought-provoking graphite pieces.
Singer, a long time fan of Sue Coe, explains her work as such:
“The unapologetically graphic nature of her work results in us, the viewers, bearing witness to suffering – a fate that began for Sue so many years ago – yet also leaves us feeling inspired to create change. For Sue Coe, and for many of us who take in her images, complacency is no longer an option. Though many vegans and animal rights advocates are already aware of these realities, even seasoned activists will be moved and inspired by Coe’s artistic explorations of animal suffering.”
Next to the slaughter house of Sue’s childhood were war memorials for Wars I and II. Curious, the young Sue asked her parents about the holocaust. She couldn’t help but liken it to the slaughter going on so near their home, and her parents responded “but we didn’t know.”
But with animal slaughter, for Sue “it’s not what we didn’t know… we do know. But we are indifferent.”
To those who feel unable to make change, she says “When you stand on the kill floor with your sketch book you are the only female on the kill floor, I can assure you… and it already changes it… if we as Western people put ourselves in the place of other beings without power, that’s the beginning of change.”
Watch the video for the complete interview with artist Sue Coe, as well as images of her works.