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Old Wednesday 13th May 2009, 22:53   #1
Paul Bowen
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Disgusting "art" from slaughtered wild birds

Hi all

Apols if you already know about this.

A British artist called Tamany Baker allows her cat to kill wild birds and then turns their corpses into "art" - you can see the sickening results here: http://www.tamany.net/gallery.asp?gallery=14

If you want to let the "artist" know what you think about her "art" there is a contact link on the same page.

Cheers

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Old Wednesday 13th May 2009, 23:07   #2
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Hi and welcome to BF.

An emotive subject - cats and wildlife for sure. Not sure how complicit she is in 'encouraging' the cat to kill, or if she has tried that hard to minimise the damage it is doing.

From her brief writing, don't think she is glorying in the deaths? Using them perhaps. Making a shrine is of course usually some kind of veneration for the creature involved - some respect involved?? Or is she being more worshipful of the cat and its killing prowess? Maybe making art of what is a very common occurence (x million cats in the uk) and bringing it into the public eye will actually make some people realise the full significance and horror which is other wise being ignored. Maybe. Art is a funny thing, don't really understand it meself to be honest.

The juxtoposition of dead animals and pretty flowers etc is a bit shocking agreed - maybe that's all she's trying to achieve.... anyway this is Birdforum not Artforum so enough of the analysis ( ), just that there usually is more than one side to everything...

And there are things that can be done to limit the damage cats do the wildlife. There are a few threads on here on the subject I believe.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 07:19   #3
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Or, in my opinion, she's just using pseudo-artistic bollocks to try and justify making a mockery of loads of needlessly killed birds.

What a fool!!!
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 07:27   #4
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Can't see what the fuss is about. She didn't kill them herself. You can't stop cats killing garden birds.

It isn't as if she's training the cat to catch Slender billed Curlews or Ivory Billed Woodpeckers.

The 'art' isn't my cup of tea but she hasn't done anything wrong. Good luck to her.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 08:12   #5
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Quite interesting work - thanks for introducing me to it.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 08:24   #6
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You only have to read her statement to see that she isn't glorying in the death of these animals, or making a mockery of them (just the opposite) or encouraging her cat to kill. She's actually created some beautiful images too.

I can easily understand how this could upset people though, but art isn't always supposed to be comfortable or easy.

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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 08:34   #7
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Angry

Interesting? I dont think so. Disgusting more like it.

Who in their right mind wants to display corpes of dead birds as a form of art? Art should be pleasing to the eye surely? Something that people get pleasure from looking at it. You certainly dont get pleasure from this - unless you are perverted, sick or brain dead.

IT MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!!!!!

Save the birds - dont kill the birds!!!
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 08:42   #8
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Originally Posted by marcia A View Post
Interesting? I dont think so. Disgusting more like it.

Who in their right mind wants to display corpes of dead birds as a form of art? Art should be pleasing to the eye surely? Something that people get pleasure from looking at it. You certainly dont get pleasure from this - unless you are perverted, sick or brain dead.

IT MAKES MY BLOOD BOIL!!!!!

Save the birds - dont kill the birds!!!
Do you prefer these images?
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 08:50   #9
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I guess most fieldguide illustrations, which birders use and refer to all the time, are illustrated from museum skins. These are dead birds that have usually been killed for the express purpose of being put in a collection as a reference.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 09:56   #10
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What this does show is the impact a cat has in the urban area.
All you keepers of cats stop kidding your self that it may be natural or your cat does not do this. Cats kill, think long and hard before you replace yours when they die, they do have impact on wildlife.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 11:13   #11
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It looks like we're going to have an interesting debate here! Hooray!

The first thing I've got to say is that everyone has the right to decide what they believe is art, and what is not, me personally, I believe that everything can be considered as art.
So 1, art is personal, and for me, these images are art, the circumstances surrounding them are sad, not ideal and that cat needs a bell. The fact that the images show death don't detract from their artistic value, nor do the grisly circumstances surrounding them. If anything they add an extra artistic element - that of reaction and debate.



Let's look at a few images of my pseudo artistic bollocks, I'll gladly show the world that I'm disgusting, perverted and possibly brain-dead (trying to put smilies in to show that I'm getting involved in debate and not taking offense at these valid points that have been made!)

1) A dead sparrow, just a photo. Art? record shot? Disgusting? Beautifully tragic? Sick? Glorifying death?
2) Same sparrow, but now painted by what is known to normal society as 'an artist'. Does this change any reaction?
3) A pair of Common Terns, beautiful picture - detail, colour, tone, mmmm, quite a popular piece this one, until you look and see that one of the pair is upside down. I could have painted this scene from a few hours earlier, before one half of the pair killed itself by flying into netting on the same tern raft, being rescued, taken to a vet and after not recovering put back for the remaining bird to see that it was alone in this breeding attempt, it abandoned the eggs about half an hour after. But perhaps this is just documenting the scene, it's just a picture of a sad story. ?
4) Dead Barn Owl, found on a road and put on a nature reserve sign, interesting combination of dead bird and protected area. Getting close to distasteful now perhaps?
5) Troubled 15 year olds always manage to find something to do with a dead moorhen, the lyrics are radiohead.

Hope this keeps the debate going, looks really interesting!
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 11:16   #12
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Originally Posted by Apodemus View Post
You only have to read her statement to see that she isn't glorying in the death of these animals, or making a mockery of them (just the opposite) or encouraging her cat to kill. She's actually created some beautiful images too.

I can easily understand how this could upset people though, but art isn't always supposed to be comfortable or easy.

Mike

I agree, there are some very sensitive compositions here, and the fact it doesn't sit comfortably makes it all the more worthwhile as an art form. On the condition that she isn't trying to get her cat to kill things, which would be very difficult as cats never do as they're told anyway.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 11:24   #13
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Hi

Have been a member for a while but have never posted so hello everyone.

They certainly are thought provoking and unusual images and its interesting to see the different views everyone has on them.

Great thread.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 12:15   #14
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It's an unfortunate fact that cats hunt and kill small creatures, that's not the fault of the artist unless you want to get embroiled in the argument about keeping cats indoors and I think that's been done on BF already.

The birds and animals in the pictures are dead. They would be dead whether they were included in photographic images created by the artist or not. Why shouldn't an artist make use of the corpses to produce images which either please or challenge depending on the viewers' point of reference?

If she were shooting, trapping or otherwise killing the birds purely to display them then that would be far more than questionable to say the least. As it is, as far as we know, she isn't. So whether the images she produces shock, disgust, delight or fascinate they are provoking an emotional response which is what Art is about surely?

Mike
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 12:29   #15
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Dear all,

Thankyou to the two members who have forwarded a link to this discussion. I thought I would contribute too. Forgive me if this is long. I wanted to answer fully and will probably not post any further comments.

I do put a bell on Wolfie's collar and I did research the "cat bibs" which I found on the internet but he would not get in and out of the cat flap with one on and would probably get stuck somewhere.

It is true that I honour the creatures. It is also true that cats kill alot of wildlife. I live in Bristol where there is a problem with rats. He has stopped the rats multiplying in the drains by my house, so I am grateful to him for that.

The statement does make it clear that I am responding to a difficult thing. As an artist I want to explore the hard things in life as well as the lovely things. The world is not a chocolate box. There is inequality everywhere. The gallery "Transient Beauty" reflects my exploration of my feelings over losing my nother and "Our Dark Companion", a study of rooks, invites the viewer to appreciate how the birds live so successfully together, to counter the usually negative connotations associated with their "image". Do please take the time to read the statments in order to understand the images.

I am currently working with nature writer Mark Cocker (author of Crow Country - an amazing book)on a collaboration about rooks. We love them and our work is to represent something of the magic that they own and for people to appreciate how good they are at living communally. I think humans have alot to learn from animals. Even cats!

I am sorry for those of you who are offended by my work and my cat. The photographs were not put in the public domain lightly. But I aim to challenge society to be honest about the instincts that lay beneath our surface personalities. Have a look at the BBC programme with Michael Portillo "How violent are you?" on i-player (originally on Tuesday night).

On this note, I would also like to say that I recieved a highly offensive email about a month ago from one of the people who posted on this page. I forwarded the email to the police. He is obviously very angry at me (even this week I had another email) but I do think his attack was uncalled for.

Thankyou again for your varied comments about the work. I am so glad we live in a democracy.

Best wishes,

Tamany
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 12:38   #16
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Thanks for commenting Tamany. I'm sorry to hear about the email attacks.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 12:45   #17
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Dear all,
On this note, I would also like to say that I recieved a highly offensive email about a month ago from one of the people who posted on this page. I forwarded the email to the police.
I'm sorry to hear that. The internet attracts some weirdos.

You should set your cat on him/her.

Only joking......
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 12:48   #18
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I get what the artist is trying to say with their artwork, it's not going to be everyone's taste but that's the point of art isn't it?

Please also note the OP seems to have joined the forum simply to whip up bad feeling against the artist, who merely owns a cat that's killed a few birds and mice and has taken photos of them for an art project (that's the artist not the cat - cats are notoriously rubbish at photography). Surely there's bigger things going on to get het up about?

And yes, I realise some people are vehemently against cat ownership, but there's about 50,000 threads doing the rounds elsewhere on that.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 13:45   #19
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If art was always "safe" we would all be looking at the lids of bloody chocolate boxes. Although the use of dead animals in art seems to be rather contentious in these " Don't show me anything that might upset me, I'm only likkle" days thousands of pictures of what used to be know as "still life" are considered fine art ( and no-one seems to give a dame about the dead plants in the pictures.) It's about time we stopped being "precious" and sensitive and started living in the real world again. Here endeth todays rant!!!
Chris
p.s. Sorry to hear that the crazies have been sending you offensive e-mails, Tamany. Either ignore them, or find out where they live and use them in your next piece!
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 14:27   #20
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Personally I'd like to set up a site where the cats are used in the same way as the birds on this site. Now that would start a real debate!! Keep up the good work motorists everywhere
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 14:59   #21
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I saw what you did there!
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 15:22   #22
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I saw what you did there!
LOL, I didn't realise when I was younger that the person in that picture is dead (the eyes are open), I used to think she had a very elaborate and decorative bathroom and rather peculiar postures when washing.
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 15:28   #23
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Hi there,

Really hope this does not turn into another domestic cat bashing session, but rather a debate about art. I'm not surprised Tamany's work has caused a stir at all, in fact I'm glad it has in a way, as that is what art should do, provoke a reaction from the viewer.
Yes cats kill birds, lots of them. Lots of things kill lots of birds, lots of them are man made or caused directly by man, whether it be pesticides or pets the issue here should be why do people feel as they do when they see an image of a dead bird? On a simple level perhaps the apparent beauty and frail nature of birds is what makes their death so poignant, perhaps the thoughts such images provoke remind us of our own mortality. Whatever it may be, it is surely a valid and worthwhile line of thought to travel along from an artistic viewpoint....

Will stop harping on lest I become too sentimental, have to keep up appearances and all, wouldn't do to let the cat out of the bag so to speak....

On a more serious note sorry to hear about abusive E-Mails..

Quite superb images on your site Tamany, the Iona and Icelandic images in particular caught my eye...
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 15:35   #24
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LOL, I didn't realise when I was younger that the person in that picture is dead (the eyes are open), I used to think she had a very elaborate and decorative bathroom and rather peculiar postures when washing.

Cool bathroom. I'll never see that picture quite in the same way again
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Old Thursday 14th May 2009, 15:36   #25
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LOL, I didn't realise when I was younger that the person in that picture is dead (the eyes are open), I used to think she had a very elaborate and decorative bathroom and rather peculiar postures when washing.

You are more right than you realise- the model for that painting was one Eliz Siddell who posed for Millais in a bath full of water, heated by oil lamps.
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