This is a small series of paintings made for an exhibition with the theme: Rebirth. They are my thoughts of a better world through painted stories. This series of eight paintings combines fairytale symbolism with my personal journey of veganism and my hopes for humanity and the treatment of animals on this planet.

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Sleeping Blissful

Based loosely on the fairytale: ‘Sleeping Beauty’, this painting symbolises the beginning stages of my journey towards becoming vegan – the time when I was preparing for the change unconsciously, as I absorbed information and strengthened my awareness. The princess in this painting is ‘blissfully unaware’ while she sleeps and the animals wait for her to awaken.

Waking Kiss

Inspired by the fairytale: ‘The Frog Prince’, this painting reflects upon a time of realisation and a feeling of ‘waking up’ to a new reality. The ‘princess’ is kissing a cow to honour the sacredness of the animals who are not always treated as they should be.

Porridge for Two

Goldilocks and Baby Bear represent the innate connection between child and animal. A human is born with a feeling of oneness to animals with no desire or instinctual need to harm them. The abundance of animal characters in fables and fairytales such as ‘Goldilocks and the three Bears’ shows how closely young humans relate to their fellow earthlings.

Feathered Friends

In this painting, two children hold a bird each – one is considered a native bird, and is protected in our country. The other is considered to be useful and disposable to humans – for meat, eggs and feathers. But really they are both beautiful birds; sentient beings with personalities and the ability to think and feel. This painting ponders the question – why do we love one but eat the other.

Childhood Critters

This painting shows a collection of the ways in which animals surround children as they grow up: pets, clothing, stories, movies, and toys. Most people encourage their children to love and respect their pets, to be kind and compassionate, to watch a movie or read a story and root for the animal who might be made into a pie. Yet there is a part of our culture that says it is OK to eat, hunt and wear animals. This painting is a reminder of the connection we always had to animals and I hope that it inspires some reflection on this.

Wonder World

Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, this painting symbolises the inner transformation that comes from connecting to a higher purpose. For me, it explores the moment when I made the connection between animal suffering and things that I was buying. Like falling down a rabbit hole, where suddenly the world looked different as I was seeing it through new eyes.

The Mother

Inspired by the legend of Gaia: the earth goddess, who protects all children of the earth, this painting explores the vast amount of endangered creatures we have on earth and also the animals who are already extinct. These animals symbolise an evolution in human thought and consciousness and contemplates the vital and urgent need for humans to become ‘mothers’ and protectors of the earth and all its inhabitants.

The Guardian

Loosely inspired by the fairytale character: ‘Snow White’ and her connection to animals, The Guardian is a depiction of how I would wish for all humans to behave – to love, care for, and nurture every living creature. For this painting I concentrated on some of the animals who live in New Zealand – who are farmed, eaten, hunted and also those who are valued and protected. To me they all have lives worth treasuring and they all have a place here on Earth.