Friday, November 9, 2007

Artistic License

I am directly pasting the following post from fellow blogger Eurodogtraining. The complete post can be found here. Thanks to Ms. K for forwarding this link to me. Needless to say, I urge you to sign the petition.
Tuesday, 6 November 2007


Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, an "artist" from Costa Rica took a dog from the street and used it as an art exhibit and caused it to suffer and starve to death in the name of Art. I shall not post more pictures as they are disturbing and too horrific.
To sign the
petition to stop this madman exhibiting, click here:


Eurodog said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and taking up this matter with your readers.

Dean A. Ayers said...

Our National United States Organization of 'Animals C.L.U.B.- Freedom' will do everything in our power to publicly bring the criminal actions of this artist to light around the world and to Costa Rica. Please see the 'Journal' link of the Director, on

Additionally, I personally lived near Madrid, Spain in San Fernando from 1984 -1988, and enjoyed the people of Spain very much. You have a beautiful country filled with wonderful people. I pray they all get the word on the plight of this poor dog killed at the hands of a madman artist from Costa Rica.
Thank you all, with blessings to Madrid, Spain and it's people.

There is a small candy shop near an apartment complex in San Fernando, Spain and the Mother of a girl named 'Peppee' owns it. Peppee babysit for my little son named Drew, and she was the most wonderful girl to watch over him. I will never forget her. God Bless Spain.

Me and my camera said...

I can't believe that a human being would do this. I'm outraged. I'm sickened.

Words really don't express my anger.

The petition is signed.

This isn't art, it's sadism. The "man" should be punished to the full extent of the law and beyond.

squindia said...

This really hit home for me. I have adopted a sweet street dog whom I love dearly. But I have witnessed him being abused by neighbors and its awful. I always say things to them but I fear they just do it when I am not watching now. Thanks for posting the petition.

also, here is something interesting from my neck of the woods:;_ylt=AsXBDcKp41TAs99koGn.wJ.ek3QF

La Gatita Gringa said...

Ha! - thanks Squindia! Such a lovely bride.
In case readers have problem with the url link, here's the story:

NEW DELHI - A MAN in southern India married a female dog in a traditional Hindu ceremony as an attempt to atone for stoning two other dogs to death - an act he believes cursed him - a newspaper reported Tuesday.

Mr P. Selvakumar married the sari-draped former stray named Selvi, chosen by family members and then bathed and clothed for the ceremony on Sunday at a Hindu temple in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the Hindustan Times newspaper said.

Mr Selvakumar, 33, told the paper he had been suffering since he stoned two dogs to death and hung their bodies from a tree 15 years ago.

'After that my legs and hands got paralysed and I lost hearing in one ear,' he said in the report.

The paper said an astrologer had told Mr Selvakumar the wedding was the only way he could cure the maladies. It did not say whether his situation had improved.

Deeply superstitious people in rural India sometimes organize weddings to dogs and other animals, believing it can ward off certain curses.

The paper showed a picture of Mr Selvakumar sitting next to the dog, which was wearing an orange sari and a flower garland.

The paper said the groom and his family then had a feast, while the dog got a bun. -- AP

Dean A. Ayers said...

Morality dictates

The California Aggie Online
Issue date: 11/15/07 Section: Arts & Entertainment

Editor's note: This column is part of a monthly series questioning the definition of art. I will address specific instances from national and international arts news in which art has carried out or interpreted in an unconventional way.

There is no stronger but questionably artistic message than death. But where does morality come into play?

Last August at a Costa Rican art reception, one exhibition roused more attention than expected. In one corner of the salon-turned-gallery, an emaciated dog was tied to a wall. Its involuntary mission was to be on display as an artistic message, and was accompanied by a statement on the wall created with dog food reading "You are what you read."

The guilty artist, Guillermo "Habacuc" Vargas, had paid two children to capture the dog from the street to use for the exhibit. Already in poor condition, the dog was refused any care by Vargas' orders, and within a day of being on display it passed away.

And for those crying by the thought of a dog left to die in a white corner of an art gallery, now for Vargas' artist's statement. This display, he claimed, was a response to the death of Natividad Canada, who was killed in Costa Rica by two rottweilers guarding a place Canada intended to rob. Vargas meant to show that no concern was given to the individual until after his death, much like the starving orphaned dog.

"The importance to me is the hypocrisy of the people where an animal is the focus of attention where people come to see art but not when it's in the street starving to death," Vargas was quoted on a variety of Costa Rican blogs.

The center of attention, in this case the canine, suffered due to Vargas' artistic desire - and this makes the installation a cruel act inflicted on a helpless victim. Vargas was definitely not referencing Kafka's "A Hunger Artist." The dog did not voluntarily starve or sacrifice its own life in the name of art.

It is true that every person has a different interpretation of art, and many overlook things that others render significant. Some paint street corners because they seem interesting when others view these scenes as ordinary. Others go so far as to capture suffering specifically as a focus of their art. But is it ever justified to create suffering in the way that Vargas did and call it art? Can art be fulfilled at the expense of another's anguish?

A utilitarian would say definitely not. A person's actions should be based upon a moral duty to minimize suffering and maximize happiness. This does not necessarily mean that Vargas should have seen this dog on the street and felt morally obligated to take it as his own, and to feed and nurture it. But it also did not mean that he should contribute to its suffering in a selfishly artistic indulgence.

The discipline of artistic expression, like many other forms of expression, has its dark side. An artist is one often motivated to create in the name of pain or use art as an outlet to release his or her own pain. It should be considered a privilege to have the talent to translate pain into aesthetic pleasure.

But like any motive to act, inflicting pain because of feeling pain is not justified. My grandma would tell Vargas "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

This is also not about the fact that the dog could have probably starved on the street, as much as Vargas might use this argument to his benefit. And the issue does not generalize entirely to that of animal cruelty either (though the animal advocacy groups of Costa Rica are already on this guy's ass). It doesn't take a dog lover or a vegan activist to see Vargas' actions as immoral.

NICOLE L. BROWNER recommends that everyone go home and listen to the Gorilla Biscuits' "Cats and Dogs," because it speaks to a larger morality. And the song is an artistic expression about suffering instead of imposing it. Send thoughts to


Anonymous said...

Gatica Gringa

Unfortunately the academy that hosts Bienarte 2008 has posted a disclaimer saying that the petition will not affect their consideration of Guillermo Vargas Habacuc.

So best is to appeal to those that help fund the event.

Have your readers contact the dutch organization that funds the Bienarte 2008 event:
HIVOS (Humanistisch Instituut voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking)

Tell them to stop supporting events that showcase artists that kill/hurt animals for art's sake.

In the meantime, I suggest that all artists MAKE art about what they would like Guillermo Vargas Habacuc to suffer, like this one did in our home town:

Buena suerte!