Jane O’Hara, animal advocate and artist

Jane O’Hara—the animal advocate and artist whose paintings explore animal issues, depict their plight, and explore our relationships with them–recalls growing up in a family where animals didn’t have much of a presence, but she liked them. O’Hara notes that art became a passion early on, and she attended art school at Boston University’s College of Fine Arts. She describes a pivotal moment in her career, when she viewed the Byzantium exhibit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, struck that the saints had sacrificed their lives to God in every facet of it, and created a counterpart, “Sacrifice,” a five foot tall screen, presenting an array of images of animals and the sacrifices they make. This represented a turning point in her art, she allows, and addresses some of the main themes in her work. O’Hara mentions that, a few years ago, she received the Peace Abbey Foundation’s Courage of Conscience Award—and that past recipients include the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Ali…not bad company to keep! She also touches on art as animal advocacy. O’Hara explains the genesis of “Beasts of Burden,” an exhibition by 15 artists (including O’Hara and past “Talking Animals” guests Jo-Anne McArthur and Moby), who use animals as their subjects for an array of reasons–and working in diverse media–examining the often-complicated connections we have with animals and how intertwined they are with our lives. “Beasts of Burden” has shown in Boston and New York, and other shows are on the horizon, O’Hara says. (https://www.janeohara.com)


ALSO: I spoke with Rowan Deacon, director of “Nature: The Last Rhino,” a new PBS documentary (that aired for the first time that night, Feb. 21) about Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhinoceros remaining on the planet. Deacon addresses the scope of the film, from profiling Sudan’s enormously devoted, full-time caretaker to exploring the realm of rhino IVF, as a means to try to save the species. (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/last-rhino-caring-worlds-famous-rhino/16049/)

COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Animal Lover” (http://www.jimgaffigan.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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