ZOONOSES: Dr Nicola Hooper

Dr Nicola Hooper has taken the darker side of nature and turned it into exquisite, thought-provoking art.

Zoonoses wallpaper

“A zoonosis is classified as an infection or infectious disease that is transferred from an animal host to a human. Up to 70% of all new diseases have their genesis in animal hosts. This exhibition uses drawing as a narrative tool to consider human fear of animal hosts in the context of association with zoonosis and draws parallels to the representation of animals in fairy tales, myths, and rhymes. 

Three main areas of investigation inform and underpin the work. Firstly, the exploration of zoonotic diseases. In doing this I reference human culpability in the spread of these viruses in association with our representation of animals in popular culture, and the resulting perception of animals in the context of fear and disease.  This is explored through theorist Steve Baker’s ideas of animal-endorsed and animal-skeptical, and sociologist Kay Pegg’s perception of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ animals.

Secondly, the tole of fairy tales and rhymes, both historically and as a tool to subversively relay information in the present is referenced.
The third area addressed is sociologist Stanley Cohen’s concepts of moral panic, social anxiety, and states of denial as outcomes of the media’s representation of zoonotic outbreaks.
This research conducted during study for my doctorate has resulted in the creation of lithographic diptychs, sculptures, artist books containing created rhymes and a number of zoonotic wallpapers. These works use fairy tales, myths, and rhymes as a metaphor to discuss zoonotic outbreaks in a non-threatening and restrained manner. Nicola employs these tropes within her studio practice, focusing on the narrative possibilities associated with various host animals.

With this work I suggest that we can use fairy tales and rhymes and associated anthropomorphism to both discuss and educate about zoonotic viruses and various animal hosts in a way to generate greater understanding of the natural world”. Dr Nicola Hooper

This exhibition is on view until Sunday 18 June 2023.

'ZOONOSES' is a touring exhibition of works by Dr Nicola Hooper presented by Logan Art Gallery, Logan City Council, in partnership with Museums & Galleries Queensland. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government's Visions of Australia program, and is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, part of the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy. Proudly sponsored by Haymes Paint.

Image credits: 
Above: Tularaemia Zoonotic Wallpaper, 2018, digital print of hand coloured lithograph, (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Homepage square: Sing-a-song-of-Sixpence, 2018, hand coloured lithographs on paper, (detail). Courtesy of the artist.
Slider: Tularaemia Zoonotic Wallpaper, 2018, digital print of hand coloured lithograph, (detail). Courtesy of the artist.


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