Jose Ricardo Contreras González


Ellas, 2022

This project seeks to leverage the legacy of the portrait as a pictorial genre to seek the pardon of three hens through the economic and symbolic value that can be given to an oil painting, as opposed to the presence of this being through time. A broiler chicken at day 42 is ready for slaughter, while its life expectancy can be 5-10 years if allowed to age and be cared for.

This action seeks to raise questions about our relationship with the species that cohabit our environment, questions about the value of representation and life, about the automation of death and our food, and about the care of sentient beings.

How can we change our relationship with everything we call nature if it seems that we don't fit into its definition?

Both animals and plants ━and everything that makes up the landscape━ are part of a natural cycle that complements each other and has given us all the elements that have created our world. Sometimes it seems that the human species ━or the cultural, political and economic system that it developed━ forgets that it is completely eco-dependent. It seems that war has been declared on life in the sense that infinite economic growth and human well-being is expected, without thinking about the fact that it is sustained by natural resources that are finite and complex, that not everything that is outside the human species is a resource to be exploited for our benefit.

How, through caring and all that it implies, for a being like a hen, can we reflect on this? Why think about the value of life and our relationship with death through a representation?

The pandemic, the quarantine, and all the speculation surrounding the origin of the virus made us reflect on our relationship with the other beings that inhabit the world. As the cities emptied, we saw through our screens, and perhaps in person, species that, in a silent city devoid of humans, dared to come out and walk the streets. In the midst of this, another virus of excess information circulated through the internet, filling us with panic and fear of the other: the other human and the other non-human. Although there were also moments where we claimed for empathy and a paradigm shift.

Three years later, sometimes it seems that everything is back to the way it was before, but many are gone. «And I do want to think that something changed, but sometimes I doubt myself».

, Colombia

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