URBANA — The Illini Union Art Gallery will present the exhibition, "So Many Beasts of Burden," with the opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday.
The exhibit examines how animals help shape cultural values and our relationship with our surrounding environment and analyzes the roles animals play beyond those that are common such as pets, labor or service.
Its purpose is to acknowledge the work of animals and see them as more than property, raw materials or tools and to question the repercussions of not giving value to their cultural, societal and intellectual work.
Maria Lux, a 2012 master's of fine arts graduate from the University of Illinois, organized the exhibition.
"It's important to delve deeper and investigate the significance of what animals do and give them the same respect as we give people," she said in a release. "A good is example is child care. While we acknowledge that it's a job for parents and caregivers, when a mother pig is caring for her young, we see it as instinctive behavior rather than qualifying it the same way as we would for a person."
"So Many Beasts of Burden" will feature the work of several artists from the MFA program in the UI's School of Art + Design. The works will feature a range of materials, from taxidermy to metal to wood.
The show will remain on display through Jume 28. Admission to it and the reception is free. The Illini Union Art Gallery is in the west wing of the main floor of the Union, 1401 W. Green St., U.