Meatworkers feature in abattoir art

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Colac meat workers feature in Melbourne artist Georgia Mattingley’s project We Love Abattoir.

COLAC meat workers feature in an art project celebrating the process of bringing livestock from the paddock to the plate.

Melbourne artist Georgie Mattingley, 25, photographed workers at three Victorian abattoirs, including 10 workers from Colac’s Australian Lamb Company, as part of her exhibition We Love Abattoir.

The portraits depict abattoir workers posing in their uniforms in colourful studio settings to provide an intimate look at the people who provide our meat.

All 10 Colac portraits appear in a book on display at Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre, while banners hanging at COPACC and in Colac’s Johnstones Lane feature three of the portraits.

Mattingley, who has been working at Victorian abattoirs for two-and-a-half years, said her project was about “acknowledging and appreciating on a public level work that is always quite hidden”.

“It is something that is ethically dense for a lot of people, about what is right or wrong about meat production,” Mattingley said.

“This is about putting ethical questions aside and taking the time to acknowledge the work that takes place,” she said.

“Artists are often expected to communicate beauty in nature; we look at the beauty of animals and of meat, but the process in between is judged or ignored.

“I wanted to show that the meat industry should not be ignored or depicted in a negative light,” she said.

Mattingley said she wanted to highlight meat workers because “you have to work with a lot of integrity to keep providing the product”.

We Love Abattoir is on display at two venues in Colac and 17 sites around Melbourne as part of the Next Wave Festival.

Visitors can download the Next Wave application to access site-specific content at each location, including interviews, videos and stories from abattoir workers.

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