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Pig Man by Nicola Hooper

Pig Man

Nicola Hooper

About the artwork and sitter

Declan Hooper is Nicola’s son and the subject of ‘Pig Man.’ The work combines hand-coloured lithography and photography.

Hooper draws on references to the now-extinct tusked ‘Grice Pig’ to draw attention to the complex relationships between humans, animals and disease. Her broader practice involves consideration of zoonotic diseases, the fragility of human life, and the intersection of art, science and disease.

As a young girl diagnosed with type one diabetes, she felt a close association with animals, including domestic pets, and also pigs, after benefitting from injections of porcine insulin.

‘The feisty ‘Grice’ ‘Pig Man’ embodies themes such as family, speciesism, and our inclination to anthropomorphise animals.’

About the artist

Nicola Hooper is a Logan-based artist/printmaker who lives and works on the land of the Yuggera people. She completed a Doctorate in Visual Arts from QCA Griffith University in 2019 and has exhibited extensively. Her current solo exhibition ‘ZOONOSES’ is touring 12 venues nationally.

She is an Impress Printmaker and Print Council of Australia member, and has won many prizes and awards. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in public and private collections.

“She is drawn to fairy tale iconology and the subversive"

Behind the scenes

 ‘Pig man’ is a portrait of my son, Declan. The work uses the traditional storytelling method of lithography, hand-coloured, and combined with photography. It unifies traditional and digital practices as a metaphor to discuss concepts surrounding my family lineage and our anthropomorphism as we ingest animals as food or medicine. 

‘Grice’ is an extinct pig from northern England, it is also my maiden name. It has its origins from the same part of the world. I moved to Brisbane in 1981 with my family. As a type1 diabetic, I injected pork insulin for many years prior to the introduction of synthetic human insulin. I often considered whether this made me or my children more ‘pig-like’. Pig man pays homage to my son who was born and raised in Brisbane and my family history. It also explores human culpability in species extinction and negative impact on the world, along with the evolution of new zoonotic pathogens. 

Nicola Hooper is a local artist/printmaker. She completed a doctorate in Visual Arts at QCA in 2019. Her work generally explores human animal relationships. She is interested in our representations of animals in the context of fear of disease. She is drawn to fairy tale iconology and the subversive. Hooper combines her time between creating work and tutoring artists through QCA’s CAIA Program.