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Christmas Turkey

The Christmas Turkey.

Ignorance in Tradition – the ‘we have always done things this way excuse’.

One day I had the pleasure of meeting a magnificent Turkey in person. It was a deeply moving and reflective experience for me and I immediately wanted to paint him ….and tell the story that formed and asked to be told.

The story is not ‘this’ Turkey’s story (or maybe it is), but he inspired the telling of a story that relates to billions of his kind.  The hidden story behind human celebrations and speciesism, when we fail to see or consider the reality of other beings.

The idea for this art work emerged rapidly when I met this turkey in person.

At first I had approached him out of curiosity. His tail and feathers were relaxed and he looked unremarkable; one of an assorted flock of feathered beings.

However he was not indifferent to my presence.

His demeanour changed and he spoke quietly in his own language which sadly I don’t understand- but  I could easily imagine him demurring; " excuse me one moment while I prepare myself for you beautiful lady, and he puffed himself up for display and THEN came over to greet me.

He was meeting me as an equal. An aware and sentient being choosing to respond and interact. The rainbow of colours, the depth and richness of his feathers, the majesty of his carriage and presence were stunning and his eyes regarded me with a calm knowing that reminded me of the ‘Ood” in Dr Who.

When I came to paint his portrait I spent more than two hours simply layering colours to try and capture the iridescent shimmer of the feathers all fluffed up and quivering. I hope I have managed to do him justice.

So the turkey himself stands prominently in the image , bringing the strength of his presence and character to the viewer. I invite you to meet him, as I did, on his terms.

The rest of the painting brings a list of emotive symbolism to challenge the status quo and mindless acceptance of the staggering amount of these beings who are reduced to a cooked carcass for the sake of a ‘tradition’.

The bride represents the betrayal of the noble and proud turkey

He is a proud and magnificent being and the human (the ‘bride’) tricks him with offers of food, protection, shelter and safety, every farmer that has ever said " we love our animals like family". Most of us refrain from eating or exploiting family.

It could also be every human seeing him as magnificent, appreciating him AND yet still selfishly eating him when it suits them.

The bride could also represent the advertising industry. Selling the illusion . She looks like a fairytale witch - and the apple is always poisoned.

The figures in the background represent every excuse ( tradition, ‘lions though’, we have canines so we are meateaters, humans have eaten meat for thousands of years ...etc)

They are blindfolded and all the same figure replicated; as they neither think nor see for themselves.  Clones wait to eat- wilfully ignorant and unseeing-refusing to open their minds or hearts.

They gather to eat- zombie like- as the blood drips from under the cover draping the carcass.


Christmas Turkey: Text

Dignity

Horrendously exploited and abused for human 'traditions', rituals and cultural habits, the turkey is a magnificent, proud and dignified being.
He deserves so much better. There is no excuse for turning other earthlings into commodities. We can do better.
There is no good reason not to stop causing such terrible harms. 
Look into the eyes of this gorgeous fellow and make compassionate choices.

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Christmas Turkey: Welcome
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