Kirra, Coolangatta and Tweed Heads

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Murwillumbah Artist, Jo Frederiks

Launches “The Animal Holocaust” Exhibition at Broadbeach

A confronting new exhibition by Murwillumbah artist, Jo Frederiks, opened last Friday night at the Royal Queensland Art Society Gallery, at Broadbeach, on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Philanthropist, humanitarian and social justice advocate, Mr. Philip Wollen OAM, delivered a stirring speech to the opening night crowd after flying in directly from Europe where he had presented a speech to the parliament in The Hague. 
“Great art changes you,” said Philip Wollen.  “Look around you. It rearranges the furniture of your mind. It cuts. It cures. And sometimes terrifies. But it is truth laid bare by brushstrokes.”  
The powerful oratory of Philip Wollen was the perfect accompaniment to the silent eloquence of Jo Frederiks’ exhibition of 40 oil paintings and 100 graphite drawings - an arresting and challenging array of images of animals, exploited by human consumption habits, staring wordlessly from the canvasses.
“No-one likes to think about where their food comes from,” said Ms. Frederiks.  “It’s so hidden in the back of our mind, we don’t consider it.”
“People came expecting to see pictures of landscapes and seascapes…but you could see by watching them that their brain was ticking.” “I’m hoping it's going to make people think. I was talking to a lady in the gallery today and she had no idea about milk and dairy. She’s never in her entire life actually thought about who she’s eating or where her food actually comes from.” 
It is the artists of the age, according to Philip Wollen, who tell the truth of its time most potently. “Brendan Kennelley, in his great book called ‘The Book of Judas’ said, 'If you want to serve your age, betray it.' What does that mean, 'to betray your age?' It means: Expose its lies. Humiliate its conceits. Debunk its arrogance. Demolish its certainties. Expose its secrets. And condemn them to face harsher truths.”
“Look around you. Jo didn’t do these pictures. We did. Human beings. We did it. But it was her brush that brought them to life.”
Jo Frederiks is undoubtedly an "artist of our age”. She grew up on a vast cattle property in central Queensland, graduated with honours from the Arts Academy in Brisbane before beginning her career as a wildlife artist. She subsequently found her niche as an animal rights advocate, working through her exquisite artworks to expose the well-hidden plight of helpless livestock animals.  “I was not happy doing wildlife art because it didn’t feel like I was achieving anything. But this is the direction I want to go in… I can’t really do anything else now, can I?”
Asked where she drew inspiration from, Ms. Frederiks named Jo-Anne McArthur of “We Animals” as someone she “holds in the highest regard.” “She goes around into abattoirs, slaughterhouses, factory farms and dissects it all through her photography.  Her photographs are just amazing.”  The artist was also was quick to acknowledge the support of her partner, Graeme Stevenson, a fellow artist and host of the TV art documentary show “Colour In Your Life”. “If it wasn’t for my partner and the TV series, there’s no way I would have been able to pull off a show like that. There’s no way it would have happened.”
Ms. Frederiks hopes to find sponsors to help tour the exhibition to Sydney, Melbourne and hopefully overseas. “It’s an important show. That sort of thing hasn’t been done before, as far as I know. And it needs to do its job and to continue on.”
“The Animal Holocaust” exhibition continues until Friday 26 September.
Where: RQAS Gallery, 25 Broadbeach Boulevard, Gold Coast.
Viewing Times: 10.30am to 4.30pm.
Photos of Jo’s artworks courtesy of Cassandra Pulver from Black & White With Shades of Grey.

View the full coverage of Philip Wollen's opening night speech here on YouTube.

Make a Comment
29 Sep 14

Sandra & Alan Guthrie

Fantastic exhibition, you truly are an amazing artist - thankyou
24 Sep 14

Kim Gibson

I was visiting and enjoyed the All creatures great and small exhibit . What a contrast, eye-opening and confronting, hope many come to have their eyes opened. Well done
24 Sep 14

Leisa O'Brien

Well done Jo- wishing you all the very best!
24 Sep 14

Kathy Gore

Great media coverage - fabulous exhibition and an amazing artist. I really hope you can get the exhibition to Sydney and Melbourne - so important
Philip Wollen & Jo Frederiks
Graeme Stevenson & Jo Frederiks