The Victorian art form of taxidermy is fashionable once more and this time with a fitting 21st century, female-led twist. What was traditionally born from male hunters who would mount the spoils of the animals they had killed, taxidermy is getting a modern-day resurgence from a group of women holding wildlife, conversation and life at the heart of their creations.
The Metropolitan Club along with Hendrick’s Gin has collaborated with Highwic, Auckland's incredible gothic mansion to host The Art of Death. The multi-disciplinary exhibition will feature work by seven women artists, transforming Highwic into something that is truly unlike anything you've experienced before.
While the art of taxidermy may seem strange and a little morbid, there are in fact life-affirming motives behind the artwork. The art form allows you to appreciate the beauty of the natural world in a completely different way, while also providing an opportunity for people to reflect on their own ideas of mortality and death, and therefore life. It is hoped that by being immersed in The Art of Death exhibition and experiencing taxidermy and other death-related art forms up close, that people will be encouraged to live more fully by exploring these ideas of mortality in such a confronting way.
The exhibition will also take you through the history of taxidermy with a display of historical pieces from the Auckland Museum’s collection not normally on public display, featuring a jaguar, badger, wombat and bear. The Art of Death exhibition isn’t just to look at either, you can go ‘beyond the ropes’ and get hands-on through introductory taxidermy classes and life drawings, meeting the artists at an afternoon salon, or attending a Hendricks Gin teacup cocktail party or absinthe tasting.
Image credit: The Art of Death