Ohio tiger incident sparks art at SIU

Appalled by the recent shooting of endangered tigers in Ohio, Beth Martell decided to create awareness through visual art.

Martell, library specialist at Morris Library and creator of the month-long 18 Tigers Art Show, said she decided to make a change after her veterinarian informed her on endangered species awareness. She said she used to own 20 parrots, which have also had a history of human extinction.

“I took a lot of the feelings I had about parrots and transferred it into tigers because they have a lot of the same problems with human extinction,” she said.

Corina Lang, of Cobden, attends the grand opening of the “18 Tigers” art exhibit Friday at Morris Library. The exhibit was curated by Beth Martell, a library specialist at Morris Library, who created the show in dedication to the 18 tigers shot by Ohio police officers last October. The exhibit will run Feb. 3 - 29. Pat Sutphin | Daily Egyptian

Friday kicked off the art show’s month long display in Morris Library to recognize the importance of being aware of animal extinction and abuse. The work in the 18 Tigers Art Show is the product of not only students and faculty but also community members.

The show is the result of an incident in late 2011 at a Zanesville, Ohio animal farm where the owner released 56 exotic animals, 49 of which were shot by police officers, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Of the animals killed, 18 were endangered tigers. Soon after the incident, the owner turned the gun on himself.

The story quickly vanished from the media, and the art show is a method of resurrecting the issue and raising endangered animal awareness, she said. Martell said she gained support through her Facebook page, where she sent invitations to artists to create pieces for her art show in the library.

Patty Weyhrich, a Carbondale resident and artist in the exhibit, said she heard about the show from a friend and instantly gained interest in the concept of the exhibit. She said she then decided to participate too.

“It merged two things I felt strongly concerned about; one being the environment and the other being I’m an avid cat lover,” she said. “It was real easy for me to think of ways that I could do something that would support the ideas that she was trying to get across.”

Fran Jaffe, an Anna resident and artist in the exhibit, said Martell introduced her to the idea and asked her to compose pieces for the art exhibit.

“I have so many other causes, but if a friend of mine is focusing on something that is also meaningful to me I would support it,” she said.

Sheng-Tao Fan, a graduate student in performance studies from Taiwan, said he decided to attend the show when he saw posters in the library and noticed one of his professors was an artist submitting work in the exhibit.

David Hanley-Tejeda, a graduate student in speech communication, said he came out to the show because Martell informed him about the  killing of  tigers, which she was distraught about.

“It’s about making art that promotes healing and also allows artists to come together and do that as well,” he said. “For me, it’s about advocating for that harmony between humans and nature and humans and other humans, in terms of creating art together and social activism.”

 

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