Jo Frederiks – Artwork and Profile
For many years as a child and teenager, I experienced life on my dad’s massive cattle station in the Queensland outback and hinterland property, where animals were also farmed. Like most kids, I loved animals and was obsessed with horses. However, station life meant that animals were unfairly belittled as commodities. They are regarded as ‘stock.’ Live ‘stock’ born and bred to be killed for profit. Their lives didn’t matter; the profit they generated did. Consequently, I was taught to be indifferent to the relentless killing and harm intentionally inflicted on them. And as devoted I was to ‘my’ beloved horses, I was blissfully unaware I was exploiting and enslaving them for my selfish pleasure. Our indoctrination runs deep – questioning that violent way of life would have been unfathomable at the time. It wasn’t until many years later that I had my vegan epiphany. Fluffy came into my life when I was around six years old. She was my sun, moon and stars, my first great Love. I lost my mother when I was three, and my father was emotionally absent. And my stepmother was mentally and physically highly abusive towards me. But Fluffy was my lifeline; I was so emotionally dependent on her. I doubt I would have survived childhood without this precious little black cat.
I became vegan in 1994. It was an immediate decision after attending an information night hosted by Animal Liberation Victoria. Professor Peter Singer was one of the speakers, and I was able to purchase his watershed classic, Animal Liberation, which I quickly devoured. That book changed my life in an instant. How could anyone not embrace veganism immediately after reading it! I was a vegetarian one year prior after reading a short philosophical article regarding the immorality of eating animals. As a vegetarian, I was completely unaware of the harm and horror caused by the egg and dairy industries and the countless other ways animals are exploited for clothing, products, so-called entertainment and in labs. And yes, I was a lone vegan in a non-vegan world. I did not know any vegans until I set up a Facebook account 14 years ago.
I am vegan because I don’t want individuals killed, harmed, or used in my name. Just an unexpected bonus is that my health has vastly improved by eating plant-based. I’m also an Atheist because I value science, logic and reason over blind faith. Incidentally, they are also values true to veganism. Becoming vegan is imperative if we are to survive as a species. You only have to look at the devastating effects of the climate crisis and its dire ramifications for future generations. I use visual art as my preferred method of communicating. Powerful, thought-provoking art can reach a vast audience and engage the viewer’s interest and curiosity in its message of social justice. And although the artworks are ‘silent,’ I hope they scream a statement of the utmost urgency for a vegan world.
Being vegan means our beliefs align with our actions. We do not cause harm to or use animals in any way. This includes not purchasing or using household products or other items that contain animal by-products or endorse animal testing. The same goes for clothing – wool, silk, feathers, fur and animal skins are avoided as they result from harm. As are all forms of ‘entertainment’ that exploit animals. Why pay for someone else to kill and harm individuals when there is an abundance of kind alternatives. Animal rights are the most significant social justice issue of our time. The health of our planet and the rapidly diminishing hope for future generations depend on the urgent call for veganism – which is the solution to most of the environmental issues we are now facing.
I became vegan long before I was on social media. Before I was on social media, I incorrectly thought being vegan was enough. However, the vegan movement on social media, in particular, There’s an Elephant in the Room’s page and the Go Vegan World page, have made me more aware of the utmost urgency for a vegan world. It’s, for this reason, I started creating artivism. Being vegan is not enough – we all need to be effective activists. My artworks have been an epiphany for countless non-vegans, inspiring them to embrace veganism, according to the frequent emails I receive. Veganism supports animal rights as well as human rights. It helps to combat world hunger, human ill health, exploitation of workers and the climate crisis – all primarily caused by non-vegan choices.
Please visit my website for more information about me and my art, https://www.jofrederiksart.com/