Lessons of loss

Michele Beevors' exhibition Anatomy Lessons opens at the National Wool Museum this week. (Louisa Jones) 411329_06

An eye-catching exhibition examining the relationship humans have with animals opens at the National Wool Museum today.

Michele Beevors’ Anatomy Lessons features sculptures of life-sized skeletons of a menagerie of creatures, from a 4.4-metre giraffe to more than 50 small frogs.

Each of the animals is anatomically accurate, formed from steel, wire and foam with an exterior of knitted wool adding colour and texture.

Beevors, who is originally from Australia but has been practising and teaching in New Zealand for the past 20 years, said she hoped the exhibition would move people to re-examine their interactions with animals.

“I explore the themes of loss, the degradation of habitat, those kinds of environmental crisis like climate change and how we treat and deal with animals,” she said.

“I would like people to think about care, because the work has taken such a long time and has been so intensive in terms of making (it).

“I’m hoping people can understand the ideas and have better relationships with each other and with animals because of it.”

Beevors, head of sculpture at Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic, has painstakingly knitted the exterior of each of the sculptures. Each one has required the work of months or, depending on size, years to complete.

“I began in 2004 making a human skeleton, and then I made a horse and a snake, and it kind of snowballed after that,” she said.

“I didn’t set out to be an animal sculptor, but it’s kind of become the thing that I do.”

Anatomy Lessons is at the National Wool Museum from June 7 to October 27.