Artist Notes: This is one of a series of eight miniature portraits of sheep which were inspired by photographs taken at an auction where they were destined for the slaughterhouse the same day (14 February 2018). The photos were taken by @Helen.ara (Instagram) while she was bearing witness for them and countless others who are routinely killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan because they have the misfortune to be born as animals we value for their body parts rather than their companionship.
If they were dogs or cats they would likely have been much loved animals that I may even have been commissioned to paint portraits of, so after seeing Helen’s photos and with her permission, I decided to do just that because these beautiful faces deserve to be remembered too and I will donate 50% of the sale price to @thefarmanimalsanctuary, based in Worcestershire, UK, (www.thefarmanimalsanctuary.co.uk) where luckier animals will get to live out their natural lifespan in comfort and safety. They are currently in need of donations to rebuild some of the animals enclosures and shelters damaged in the winter weather.
Of course this sheep had only an anonymous number to identify him but the name Joe came into my head as I was painting him and his message is ‘peace’ – something the planet could certainly do with.