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January 7, 2017 By Andy Ross

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Daphne Wright

The Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol has just hosted an exhibition of Daphne Wright's Emotional Archaeology. 

Some of the pieces in the show are unsettling and strangely beautiful, but one of the most poignant is the figure of a monkey, lying on its side as though it is asleep. The figure is actually a cast of a rhesus monkey which was used in science and put to sleep afterwards. It is moving and disturbing, and makes us question ourselves and our morality.

What makes this piece so special is not so much the fact that it was cast from a real monkey, but the care with which the sculpture was made. Each individual hair (made from thread) on the realistic pelt of the monkey was sewn into a coat, and then this was draped over the body and moulded on. It must have taken a very long time and oceans of patience, and perhaps this makes the most fitting memorial to an animal that has been used to prolong our lives. It is Art that truly moves.