After-Life, Animal Stories from Beyond the Grave is the title of the latest exhibition in Adelaide by Australian artist Rod McRae. Coming shortly after his successful exhibition Wunderkammer: The Cabinet of Wonders at Flinders University City Art Gallery, the location for After-Life at Z Ward is highly appropriate. After-Life includes sculptural works from Wunderkammer re-imagined alongside brand new works specifically for the Z Ward space.
After-Life explores the way that humans perceive wild animals and the contrast in our perception of domesticated animals. All of the animals in After-Life were either born in the service of man or are perceived to have been. Some were harvested by humans in a slaughter house. Some were free in their contained wilderness at a zoo. The wild donkeys - once our allies in first explorations of the Australian continent - are now designated 'feral', and shot on sight.
Presented in the stark, confining spaces of the former Z Ward asylum for the criminally insane, McRae's work asks us to consider what it means to be wild, free and autonomous, as opposed to captive, domesticated and farmed.
The After-Life Exhibition is Held at Z Ward Glenside
This new exhibition features the story of the young giraffe Marius, whose killing and public dissection at the Copenhagen Zoo in 2014 created a public outcry. The Judas Collar, another of the exhibits, shows how technology – in this case a GPS tracking collar, is used in the culling of donkeys, now treated as a feral species of no use, despite their historic value in opening up the Australian outback and as carriers for the injured in World War I.
Some will find After-Life confronting. Some may even say it is controversial. It certainly is thought provoking, leading us to question our own behaviour towards animals and that of others.
I]After-Life, Animal Stories from Beyond the Grave[/I] is the first major exhibition to be held held at Z Ward as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival. It's a bold move to showcase Z Ward in its new role as a successful entertainment hub, following the recent 1920's Speakeasy pop up bar which sold out all tickets rapidly.
The After-Life exhibition is presented by the National Trust of South Australia for the Adelaide Fringe Festival. It is open from February 13 to April 30, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-4pm. Tickets to After-Life are available through Fringe Tix or at the door. Adults tickets are $13, concession and National Trust members are $11.
Judas Collar Exhibit from After-Life (Image Supplied)
For a very special experience why not consider going to Hidden Sounds From the Z Ward - a unique evening of musical entertainment curated by Helpmann Award winner Gabriella Smart. Enjoy a welcome drink and fine live music renditions from local performers, and receive free entry to the After-Life exhibition included in the ticket price.