by Sue Coe
Longtime activist illustrator Sue Coe, a pioneer defender of animal rights, has produced a striking new work that furthers her career-long exposé of the exploitation of animals raised and slaughtered for human consumption. Richly illustrated with full-color paintings and drawings throughout, Cruel conveys the terrible beauty, and intense suffering, of both the animals so sacrificed and the workers involved in their violent destruction. While unexpectedly beautiful in its depiction of the brutal consequences of meat eating, this is a deeply moving, upsetting work, not for the faint of heart. Armed only with her sketchpad, Coe is often allowed access to places no photographer or reporter is admitted: the result is a passionate testimony to the waste and violence perpetrated by one species against so many others—and as both the text and unforgettable illustrations of this book make clear, these actions will come back to haunt humanity.
Aside from factory farming, in Cruel Coe also sets her sights on lesser-known, yet equally shocking, methods involved in commercial fishing, the wool industry, the flagrant use of pesticides, and livestock “protection” collars. This is social and political art at its most powerful, in the tradition of Goya, Käthe Kollwitz, and Diego Rivera.
Cruel includes notes supplementing Coe’s own texts and illustrations by Judy Brody, with whom she has previously collaborated. Brody runs the website Graphic Witness (www.graphicwitness.org): “social commentary through graphic imagery.”
About the Author:
Sue Coe was born in England and grew up next to a slaughterhouse. She studied at the Royal College of Art in London and left for New York in 1972. Early in her career, she was featured in almost every issue of Art Spiegelman’s groundbreaking magazine Raw, and has since contributed illustrations to the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Nation, Entertainment Weekly, Time, Details, Village Voice, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Esquire and Mother Jones, among other publications. She is widely regarded as one of the best and most scathing artists of her time. Her paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museum around the world, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Her other books include Dead Meat, The Animals' Vegan Manifesto, How to Commit Suicide in South Africa, X, and Pit’s Letter.