Saskatoon art exhibit shows love for 'outcast' animals

Scavengers and Outcasts features work by ceramic artists Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie depicting 'outcast' animals like skunks, seagulls and mice. They hope the work brings new appreciation for these often unwelcome visitors.

Ceramic works feature skunks, mice and seagulls

Ceramic containers topped with field mice. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

A new show at the Saskatchewan Craft Council casts a different light on many familiar, and often unwelcome, urban animals. 

Scavengers and Outcasts features the work of Nova Scotia based Lucky Rabbit Pottery, a team comprised of ceramic artists Debra Kuzyk and Ray Mackie, originally from Saskatchewan. 

Ceramic jars topped by creatures that many consider pests figure prominently in the exhibit.
Scavengers and Outcasts focuses on animals that are able to thrive in cities. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

"We have chosen to put on top of our pedestals the least welcome animals that sort of crossover into the human habitat like skunks, raccoons, gophers, mice, rats and seagulls," Kuzyk said.

Resourceful animals

The jars, Kuzyk said, are inspired by a historic form where containers are topped with more traditionally "triumphant" creatures such as eagles or lions.

"In all the museums in the world, when you look at classical, historic, ceramics, you will find this same form, a beautifully thrown jar and a little sculpture of an animal on top," Kuzyk said.
Several large ceramic jars are included in the show. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

But Kuzyk feels the animals you might catch rifling through your garbage deserve some credit too.

"Scavenger animals that can cohabitate with humans are very intelligent and resourceful," Kuzyk said. 

"They have a lot of the same attributes that humans have, which we admire in ourselves and we dislike in them."

Scavengers and Outcasts runs in Saskatoon in the Saskatchewan Craft Council's Affinity Gallery through July 9.