Jane O’Hara

Artist Statement


Many years ago I was happily doing paintings of the animals I've always loved. Then I came across the Byzantium exhibit at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Those saints had sacrificed their lives to God, in every screen, every painted icon.

But what about animals, I wondered. To what higher powers have they sacrificed their lives? This nagging question pushed me to create my screen Sacrifice (pictured at right). A cat stands solemnly, his paw raised in reverence, wearing vestments of… March of Dimes? Yes, kittens are sacrificed to prove smoking is not advisable during a human pregnancy.

In Sacrifice, I show nine sentient beings who are sacrificed to the higher powers of corporations, universities and the circus. In their case, it is far from a calling or a choice. In their case, it is not an offering to a benevolent higher power, but a malevolent branch of the umbrella organization—us humans.

From that point on I have also used my artwork as a way to give voice to those not so lucky as our pampered animal companions and protected creatures of the suburbs.

— Jane O’Hara