Exhibitionists

This Halifax artist is turning roadkill into art

When artist Nikki Barnett traveled to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, she got inspired in an unexpected way: through the decorative skulls she saw there.

Nikki Barnett pays tribute to departed animals by bejewelling them

When Nikki Barnett traveled to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, she unexpectedly found inspiration in the decorative skulls she saw there. 2:50

When artist Nikki Barnett traveled to Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, she got inspired in an unexpected way: through the decorative skulls she saw there.

Returning to her home in Halifax, Barnett started collecting animal skulls — many of them roadkill — and turning them into her art. She gave each animal a name and a distinctive character, and donated some of her profits to Hope for Wildlife in Seaforth, Nova Scotia. Barnett felt like it was a much more honourable ending to the animals' lives.

This short documentary directed by Paul Robinson and produced for CBC Arts by Stephanie Matteis follows Barnett's process from beginning to end as she makes creations that mix the macabre and the whimsical.

Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.

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