There is a buzz building around Sue Coe’s new collection of work entitled Cruel: Bearing Witness to Animal Exploitation. The official release of the book is April 15th. Pre-orders are being taken on the OR Books website. Richly illustrated with full-color paintings and drawings throughout, Cruel conveys the terrible beauty, and intense suffering, of both the animals used and abused for human ends, and the workers involved in their violent destruction. While unexpectedly beautiful in its depiction of the brutal consequences of meat-eating, this is a deeply moving, upsetting work, not for the faint of heart. Armed only with her sketchpad, Coe is often allowed access to places no photographer or reporter is admitted: the result is a passionate testimony to the waste and violence perpetrated by one species against so many others—and as both the text and unforgettable illustrations of this book make clear, these actions will come back to haunt humanity.
Coinciding nicely with this new book, Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House brings us a fantastic video-short that takes us on a journey narrated by Sue Coe, and features selections from her vast body of work. Coe describes the impetus behind her life’s work – growing up next door to a hog farm and hearing the hogs’ screaming as they were led to slaughter. These experiences left an indelible mark on the artist. In turn, Coe leaves her own mark on the hearts and minds of anyone who views her images, which have been shown in galleries and museums all over the world. The unapologetically graphic nature of Coe’s work results in viewers bearing witness to suffering – a fate that began for Coe so many years ago – yet also leaves many feeling inspired to create change. For Sue Coe, and for many of us who take in her images, complacency is no longer an option. Though many vegans and animal rights advocates are already aware of these realities, even seasoned activists will be moved and inspired by Coe’s artistic explorations of animal suffering.