Artist’s whimsical art form aims to immortalise dead animals

© you tube / Kimberly Witham.

Kimberly Witham’s taxidermied Squirrel.

A New Jersey-based photographer has found an inventive way of honouring the lives of animals killed on roads, a National Geographic report from February 17 claims. 

Kimberly Witham recovers the bodies of “already-dead critters” and then uses them to create a stunning portrait which she photographs before burying the remains of her furry models.

Following in the footsteps of the Victorian-era taxidermy artist Walter Potter, known for his ‘kittens at a wedding’ and ‘rabbits at school’ dioramas, Witham’s portraits aim to resurrect the dead animal momentarily, giving them a more meaningful send off and a ‘respectful end.’

Witham insists that she has never harmed or killed a beastie in her artistry, unlike many of her Victorian forerunners. She finds most of her specimens outside but also knows of several other ways to get hold of ‘ethically-sourced’ animals.

According to the National Geographic report, published on February 17, alternative sources can include frozen carcasses destined for the cages of pet snakes, the remains of game animals such as rabbits and ducks from butchers and discarded pelts from high-end fashion designers.  

Many contemporary taxidermists believe that using raw materials that would otherwise go to waste is both ethical and practical, while Ms Witham finds some spiritual solace in creating something beautiful from something otherwise forgotten.

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