Pictures of The Month/ Elina Siira: No-One's Precious
02.05.2018 - 01.06.2018
The cat is a very common pet in Western culture, but its position as a human companion remains undervalued. An estimated 20,000 cats are abandoned every year in Finland alone.
No-one’s Precious has been photographed at Kissakoti Kattila cat shelter in Hämeenlinna in spring 2017. The documentary portraits of the inhabitants of the cat shelter portray individuals, whose status and, through this, the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of their existence are determined by humans. In the photographs, the animals’ eyes hold an invitation and their presence pose a challenge; a plea in the form of a photograph reaches towards another awareness, one that humans cannot reach through language.
No-one's Precious seeks to observe the power and responsibility of man from the viewpoint of animals that are subordinate and dependent on him. My humanity – its limitations and my status as an outsider in relation to an animal – naturally leaves the stories of the photographs incomplete. Still, the attempt to perceive the experiences of these homeless animals and make other experiential levels visible in addition to humancentred thinking, has felt meaningful. I hope that through my photographs, humans can also look at their own humanity - do I acknowledge the rights, feelings and experiences of animals, even if they do not have the words to describe them or to demand attention?
Kissakoti Kattila is a shelter for homeless cats with an average of one hundred cats looking for a home. Some of them have been waiting for their forever home for several years. Kissakoti Kattila is maintained by Hämeenlinnan Kissojen Ystävät ry association, which is a non-profit organisation operated mainly by volunteers and with the help of donations.