Controversial artist Tinkebell has announced she will report a theft with the police after a TV Rijnmond reporter took two snails from an exhibit with him. TV Rijnmond handed over the snails to Dierenbescherming (‘Animal Protection’, an association with 200,000 members and 31 local chapters) for further study.
Tinkebell is currently exhibiting some 1,000 live snails with beads glued to them as part of a larger exhibition at the Villa Zebra children’s museum called Ah, wat lief! (‘So sweet’). The exhibition is supposed to explore and challenge how children look at animals—which ones do they find cute, and which ones do they find horrid.
Earlier Tinkebell exhibits centered around exposing the hypocrisy of animal lovers by doing the exact same thing they do to animals, but within a completely different context. In one instance she made a leather purse, with the leather from her own cat. She also let hamsters run around a showroom while they were imprisoned in tiny plastic balls she had purchased at a pet store, something for which she was prosecuted but ultimately acquited.
In an article on left-wing blog Joop.nl Tinkebell explains how she got the idea of adorning snails with beads in the first place:
I have been painting all the snails I find in my own garden for years. [One day I spotted my neighbour salting his garden to kill snails and] I began to wonder where the snails came from, where they were going and how old they would get. In order to answer my own questions as well as try to change my neighbour’s mind, I started to paint numbers on the snails in my garden. There were many of them…
A year later and much to my surprise I saw that the snails were still moving through my garden, numbers and all. Wow! So then I numbered the unmarked copies in a different colour.
Another year passed and now three generations of painted snails were moving among my plants, and the year after I started with a new ‘tactic’, that of ‘beautifying’. I added glitter, flowers and little paintings. Each year my snails looked different, and that is how I kept track of different generations.