Daily 49er

‘Empathetic’ tackles animal cruelty and our apathy toward the issue

Graphic design student Cora Kim challenges viewers to think about the effects humans have on animals.

Cora+Kim%27s+exhibit+%22Empathetic%22+uses+multiple+forms+of+media+to+display+her+message+of+combating+animal+cruelty.+
Cora Kim's exhibit

Cora Kim's exhibit "Empathetic" uses multiple forms of media to display her message of combating animal cruelty.

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Sabrina Flores | Daily 49er

Cora Kim's exhibit "Empathetic" uses multiple forms of media to display her message of combating animal cruelty.

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People usually don’t consider how their decisions and choices affect the world around them, or the lives of the animals that surround them. With plenty of distractions, entertainment and activities, the mistreatment of animals is often pushed into the background of our lives. Cora Kim hopes to change that through her art.  

The subject of animal cruelty is the central message in one of Cal State Long Beach’s School of Art galleries this week by Cora Kim in her multimedia exhibit, “Empathetic.”

Kim is an MFA graphic design student whose work portrays an array of facts, research and visually stimulating pieces to spread awareness about animal cruelty.

Issues such as cosmetic testing on rabbits, overfishing of tuna, elephant trekking, or riding elephants, and greyhound dog racing is featured in her artwork. In a multimedia presentation, Kim created videos, slideshows, banners and drawings to illustrate her message.

Her piece on Bluefin tuna overfishing curled around the corner of the gallery. With illustrations on an intricately detailed banner at knee-level, Kim explores the characteristics and life of Bluefin tuna and their essential role in the ocean’s habitat. There was also a short animation on loop accompanying the banner, which depicted overfishing and overindulgence in Bluefin tuna dishes.

After subscribing to National Geographic and reading “World Without Fish” by Mark Kurlansky with illustrations by Frank Stockton, Kim’s sparked an interest in the overfishing issue.

Kim drew inspiration from her personal experiences to create her work. One specific piece, a slideshow projected onto a white banner hanging in the center of the room, presents details about elephant trekking, which Kim said she almost became witness to.

“While I was visiting Thailand, I was searching for tourist things to do,” Kim said. “Elephant trekking showed up and I thought it sounded fun, but I did more research and it turns out they are tortured to be used for tourism.”

After learning more about the process, Kim scratched the activity off her list of things to experience in Thailand. This isn’t the only instance where she faced animal cruelty. Kim grew up with multiple pets including dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits and two snails named Dal-i and Paeng-i. As someone who loves both animals and makeup, Kim was saddened to learn of the harsh reality of cosmetic animal testing.

“Everyday I put on my makeup, and I didn’t think about how those animals were used,” Kim said.

One of the central pieces of art in the room was a panel of illustrations showing Kim as a young girl ignorant to animal testings in between panels of a rabbit’s perspective. The drawings showed Kim and the rabbit growing older at the same time. The divide comes when Kim starts wearing makeup and at that same time, the rabbit begins undergoing chemical tests for the same makeup Kim is using.

She also created a video using the same drawings, which created a more emotional life-like quality to the storyboard.

Kim said that she wanted to share the moments she learned more about animal cruelty with others who may not know how much about the impact human decisions have on the animal kingdom. In her written artist statement, Kim conveys her shock and disappointment that people don’t mind the abuse of animals as a result of their choices.

“We can change it, we have other options,” Kim wrote. “We are people, we are the ones that do what we want and those consequences falls to those animals.”

On her information brochure she handed out inside the gallery, Kim included a list of all the animal cruelty-free brands of cosmetics to make it easier for viewers to make more conscious decisions after leaving her gallery. She encouraged those to look for companies with a bunny logo, a mark promising products are not tested on any animals.

Kim’s gallery is one of five featured this week in the School of Art galleries located in the fine arts buildings near the central quad. The galleries will be available for viewing from noon to 5 p.m. through Thursday with extended hours Wednesday, when the galleries will be open until 7 p.m.

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