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stephanie cossens2

Through her work for her Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours at the Dunedin School of Art Stephanie Cossen developed her love of animals into an exploration of animal rights, drawing out the connections between humans and animals. She was conscious that humans oppress animals, and that there is a lack of visibility around this issue.

Stephanie created soft animal suits, to initiate a conversation about the links between people and animals. "I thought costumes is the best way to bring them into the public sphere." No animal products were used on making the suits, which together form one artwork called Unmasked. Because women are also oppressed, the five suits were created for women to wear in a performance. The women walked down George Street to create visibility, in effect saying "Hello, we're here, will you help?".

As reported by the Otago Daily Times, the performance succeeded in attracting attention: "Lunchtime passers-by stopped in their tracks, some with mouths open and cameras out, as the giant heads of a bear, rhino, walrus, gorilla and shark raced by."

Read more about the Bachelor of Visual Arts Honours programme here.