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UNLEASHED: FRESH MEET artist Dr Ellie Coleman

UNLEASHED: FRESH MEET artist Dr Ellie Coleman


Ellie Coleman – Toowoomba – nominated by Dr Beata Batorowicz, Associate Professor, School of Creative Arts, University of Southern Queensland

Dr Ellie Coleman Doctor of Creative Arts, University of Southern Queensland, 2021. Coleman is an installation artist who is passionate about practice-led research and animal ethics particularly in contemporary art.  Her research interests include vegan art practices pertaining to the broader role of animal
ethics in contemporary art.


Lucent Creatures (2018 - 2022)

Lucent Creatures explores concepts of mourning, loss, repurposing and - more broadly - animal ethics in contemporary through crystallised animal skulls and taxidermy birds.

Reprocessing animal remains into contemporary art objects encodes the animal works with ethical considerations and insights pertaining to animal rights. This series responds to the devaluing of animals and how I can debunk human-animal hierarchal by reassessing problematic perception and the affiliated ‘social value’ of animals. By confronting the idea of death and the importance of all life through showcasing ‘deceased animals’ these jewelled artefacts occupy a new liminal space between animal ethics and vegan philosophy. This strategic approach of death becomes a reminder of our own mortality.

This work also addresses strategies of perceived value by shifting the reading of the skulls by representing them as highly valued jewelled animals within a gallery context. That is, I invoke a sense of re-evaluation of the animal as an art form, bringing attention to the individual animals as much as the entire collection installed in the gallery space. In doing so, my work provokes audiences to reconsider the animals as something more than just ‘dead matter.’ They become more than a mere material through the acceptance they are the bodies of other animals. In this way, I tell their stories and pay homage to their lives rather than celebrate their deaths.

Billy Goat Gruff (2022) focuses on the practice of multilayered storytelling by exploring moral complexities, fairy tales, memories and integral transitional phases as subject matter. Through the use of ethically sourced wool Billy Goat Gruff addresses the ritualised process-driven approach of ethically gathering and transforming animal materials into childlike artefacts as a way of reconnecting human and animal relationships.

Traditionally, fairy tales provide commentary on mores and social values. In the tale of Three Billy Goats Gruff, greed is negatively represented in order to discourage. Simultaneously, drawing on my own childhood memories, ethical practices and significant rites of passage such as mothering, I reframe the tale and reveal undertones of emotions, relationships and hidden truths. In doing so, I engage animal materials in a way which respects and honours their stories.

IMAGE CAPTION (main image):  Lucent Creatures, Lorikeet #1, 2018, taxidermy lorikeet, crystals, 22 x 7 x 3 cm.

IMAGE CAPTION 1: Billy Goat Gruff, 2022, raw wool, goat horns, 29 x 27 x 90 cm.