I am a white settler living and learning in Ottawa on traditional Anishinaabe territory where I am a visual artist, environmentalist, and animal advocate. After a career in business and technology, I reinvented myself as an artist. I took and continue to take studio art courses and work in a variety of media: painting, printmaking, sculpture, video, photography, and text. In 2011 I began studying art history at Carleton University, which culminated in a master’s degree in 2020. I also hold degrees in psychology and biology.
Working in an interdisciplinary manner, I conduct art-research projects that are provocations to industrialized and consumerist systems. These projects address industrialized animal agriculture, the urban water system, environmental degradation and diversity loss, climate change, and currently, regenerative agriculture.
Since 2011 my visual art practice has been focused on drawing attention to the cruelty and destructiveness of factory farming. In my 2010-2014 series, Pigs in a (Post) Modern World, I recreated over fifty modern masterpieces, incorporating pigs in the picture to help raise consciousness of the sentient and social animals trapped in the industrialized food production system. In a curatorial study on the pastoral print competed in 2015, I investigated the changing cattle industry over a two-hundred year period and its role as a major contributor to Climate Change. Then after seeing a disturbing footage on the treatment of new-born lambs, I completed a “cute but creepy” series of classical satyrs and fauns called Animal Lovers. In 2016-17 I worked on “The Animal in the Room” project using sculpture and print-based mixed-media. The idea behind it was to address the “elephant in the room” by putting a face on the animals we call food.
Completed as part of my graduate studies, “Mishka Henner’s Feedlots: New Perspectives on the Contemporary Ecocritical Landscape” questions why industrial animal agriculture is not a more prominent subject in discourse and art exhibitions on the Anthropocene. This work reflects my widening perspectives — from animal welfare to the ecology of climate change and environmental justice for all species.
Contacts and Links
To contact me please email beth[at]bethshepherd.ca.
To visit my other website, more to do with art, art history, and urban ecology, see bethshepherd.ca.