Media release – 14.03.22
New exhibition announced – Michele Beevors: Anatomy Lessons
While most people knit socks, or sweaters, Dunedin artist Michele Beevors knits memorials to elephants, gorillas and giraffes. Tūhura Otago Museum is excited to announce a free exhibition of Michele Beevors knitted menagerie scheduled to open on 9 April in the Animal Attic.
The life-size sculptured animal skeletons are inspired by natural history exhibits and reflect on our relationship with animals. From the giant giraffe whose head is raised to the windowed ceiling, to tiny frogs, the works are ethereal and haunting.
The first special exhibition in the Animal Attic, the Museum’s beloved gallery of Victorian taxidermy, the works encourage visitors to think about the history of collecting and the ongoing conservation challenges all species face. Alongside a Museum collection you half expect to come alive in a Narnian-esque fashion, the affecting beauty of the works is underscored.
“This exhibition reflects on the world of collecting, of human impact, conservation politics and the sad realities of species loss and extinction”, said Tūhura Otago Museum Curator, Natural Sciences, Emma Burns. “While the sculptured material is soft, the subject of the works is hard. Art is often able to hold these conversations in a different way to science.”, she continued.
The exhibition, called Michele Beevors: Anatomy Lessons will be open until 24 July at the Museum.
“The animal attic has had a sad fascination for me since I moved to Dunedin 20 years ago. It has led me to research anatomical exhibits in Sydney, Paris, and Vienna, to draw and collect data towards this exhibition. The curatorial team at Otago have been instrumental in helping me to discover some amazing things. So this exhibition is an amalgam of international stories of individual animals who lived and died in concert with humans. said Beevors.
Beevors has been knitting since she was young and is the principal lecturer in sculpture at the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. The series of sculptures began in 2005 and for over 15 years, she has been adding to the collection of knitted anatomy as a part of practice which includes large scale fibreglass and feminist works
“While knitting is not necessarily a gendered activity, there is almost a primal need to do so in times of eco- anxiety. So, to knit these forms is the most appropriate, intimate, and respectful means to lament the abject state of the natural world. Each of the works exhibited here represents a relationship developed through this lengthy process with each animal.”, said Beevors.
The exhibition consists of 12 pieces, and is an exhibition which is sure to affect visitors with its sad splendour.
For more information contact
Kate Oktay, Otago Museum Marketing Manager