To mark National Vegetarian Week (18-24 May) vegan artist and lecturer Pinky Binks creates a delicate and emotional tribute to the thousands of animals that once died in a lonely and dilapidated slaughterhouse in the north east of England.
Tribute II is Pinky’s personal response to the building’s previous activity and the ‘terror and murder’ that took place there. British based Pinky says: “It is of course integral to the work that the space used was one that housed animals and enveloped their last breaths.”
Set within a field surrounded by beautiful countryside, the abattoir is small and derelict and consists of two spaces, one where the slaughter took place and the other where the bodies were hung.
Pinky describes his work: “The slaughter room will be carpeted with thousands of fresh pink roses and petals. What was once a river of blood will become a sea of flowers.
“The hanging room will be filled with hundreds of pink gladioli suspended on butchers hooks. This space has no roof so I expect the flowers to sway in the wind and even disperse their petals around the surrounding fields and village.
“We will also have a viola playing Abide With Me to add to the majesty of the tribute, this will be performed by Gayle Hutchinson
“We decided to use gladioli in honour of singer Morrissey’s 50th birthday this week (22 May). He’s been a tireless campaigner for animal rights and vegetarianism and I’m sure he’d appreciate the work. Meat is MURDER!”
The work is a continuation of the recent Tribute: an installation of funeral flowers in a recently closed butchers shop spelling out the phrase “Hold Your Breath”. Again this was Binks’ personal response to the butchers shop as when it was in use he used to hold his breath as he passed to avoid breathing in the smell of dead animals.
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The piece was so well received by the public and press alike that he decided to team up with The Vegetarian Society to extend the piece and raise awareness of National Vegetarian Week. Pinky says: “The work is not only a tribute and mark of respect to animal life but an exploration of how we as humans have developed relationships with animals to suit our own desires and needs.
“It’s not my intention to preach against anyone’s personal choice, simply juxtapose beauty where there was once terror, raise awareness of vegetarianism and get people thinking about the sanctity of all life, not just ours.”
Pinky Binks has exhibited his unique brand of work in spaces all over the country, including The South Bank Centre in London; he’s an art lecturer who splits his time between the UK and India.