In Life on Earthenware, Medicine Hat artist Annette ten Cate has sculpted humorous and endearing representations of animals engaging in human activities. This exhibit is made possible by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Traveling Exhibition Program.
The artist presents the figures within a distinctly human context by using props, furniture and clothing, to represent characteristics that humans and animals share. Anthropomorphism, attributing human characteristics to non-human species, is common in children’s literature, film and television, and has been used since the Victorian era in storytelling to teach lessons and morals to children. Ten Cate acknowledges the emotional impact that anthropomorphized characters had on her during childhood, and how they evoked sentiments of empathy that are still relevant to her as an adult. By presenting the animals in a context that is familiar, ten Cate hopes the work elicits compassion and a renewed understanding of the individual species.
Humans and animals may have different reasons for why they eat what they eat, or why they sing, jump, climb or run, but our similarities remind us of our interconnectedness and the importance of nurturing a respectful relationship.
This Exhibit is on display in the Learning Commons until June 15. Please feel free to drop by. The Artist presented a hands on workshop to Grade 3 and 4 students today.