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Mary Shannon Johnstone
North Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2018

I made these cyanotypes with the ashes of euthanized animals from an animal shelter’s crematorium in rural North Carolina. These creatures died with nobody to mourn their passing, except maybe a few overwhelmed shelter workers. Sadly, euthanasia in animal shelters is far greater in the southeast than anywhere else in the United States.

Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space Prussian blue. With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.

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