Animals were once little more than food and tools. Now, every day humans are given healing.

The Japanese English term “animal therapy” exists. The term “animal therapy” is used to restore mental health by reducing inherent stress through interaction with animals. While there is little academic evidence for this, there is no doubt in my mind that people living in a pet-friendly country like modern Japan can benefit from the positive effects of animal interaction.

It is interesting to note how many people watch other people’s pets on video sites and social networking sites, and it is rare to go a day without seeing a picture of a cat on a social networking site’s timeline, a cat that has become a genre of video planning and killer TV content. I suspect that the reason why some people are biting down to watch it is not so much for entertainment, but rather for healing. Looking at the situation alone, it seems that animal therapy is viable, even if humans are virtual animals.

This article explores the relationship between animals and art, as depicted in the murals of Lascaux and Altamira Cave, both of which are said to be the beginnings of art.

Inga Makarova

Makarova works with a wide variety of animals, from the typical pet dog and cat to dangerous insects such as bees and exotic animals such as chameleons. She specializes in capturing the biological characteristics of each animal and extracting the commonalities between them and human culture, and her work goes beyond mere depiction of animals to show a contemporary art aspect.

80 x 60 cm

 The animal motif of this work is a dog, probably because Makarova has a special place in her heart for it. Although the colors of the picture are vivid and poisonous, the small body of the dog is somehow charming, perhaps reflecting her love for it.

130 x 180 cm

Click here for more information on the artist.

Airi Kumori 

Kumori is another artist who has developed a deep insight into animals.
But in addition to Makarova’s petulant gaze on animals, the level of abstraction rises even higher, perhaps because of the deconstruction of animal forms in his mind.

He skillfully uses the dichotomy of complex geometric line drawings and simplistic motifs, static and dynamic images, to depict animals and the divine presence of animals based on them. The various animals that the Japanese encounter in their daily lives are transformed in a way that is sometimes catchy and sometimes fear-inspiring, exaggerating the characteristics of each animal.

116.7 x 116.7 cm

 What is also noteworthy is that the artist treats animals, which are usually considered to have no consciousness, as beings with clear consciousness, like humans, in an attempt to create a kind of characterization. Although animal characterization can be seen in the West as well, the exaggerated expressions and the spontaneous and energetic brushwork of the Japanese are reminiscent of the caricatures of birds and animals.

Tori 10262019 (bird 10262019)
27.3 x 22 cm

Click here for more information on the artist.

Yuko Hizume

There are other artists who take a different approach to painting animals than the two mentioned above. Hizume is one of them.

Hizume depicts the beauty of strong, intelligent, wild women dressed in classic Japanese and Western fashion. Beside her, there are animals that we don’t usually see directly, such as tigers, cranes, and wopper. This style of painting was inspired by her gratitude to her mother and the animals.

Afternoon Irritation.
72.7 x 91 cm

 Both women have a dignified appearance and their spiritual intensity approaches us, who are separated from them by the screen. And it is the animals that function as a medium through which this spirituality is transmitted to us. A tiger gives us more power, and a lizard accelerates our impression of femininity and abandonment.

 Hizume’s works make us share the image of natural man and animal, and the relationship between them will be reaffirmed and reconsidered in the mind of the viewer.

31.8 x 41 cm

Click here for more information on the artist.

 Due to the unprecedented pet boom, the number of pets kept at home exceeded 19 million in 2003, more than the number of children under the age of 15. The answer to the question of how to deal with animals, which are becoming more than just food and tools, and which are becoming more organically integrated into human society, may lie in art.


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