Oath of Horatipped – Artist: Jacques-Louis Devon
The Kittens of Honor- Artist: Diego Felisquez
Paris Alley, Rainy Day. – Artist: Gustabby Cailiebotte
Tahitian Felines on the Beach – Artist: Purr Gauguin
The Lovers – Artist: Rene Meowgritte
Melancholic Purring – Artist: Joan Meowro
Golconda – Artist: Rene Meowgritte
At a Cafe – Artist: Furnjita
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A melding of renowned artworks and cat imagery creates fine art approachable by all

What do art and cats have to do with each other? More than you would imagine.

Art captures a sensation, a moment in life, and holds it eternally. Make art accessible. Bring on the cats.

Shu Yamamoto’s exhibition, simply named “Cat Art”, starts with ancient Egyptians. Numerous Egyptian gods and goddesses – such as Mut, the goddess of fertility – were depicted with cat heads. They were admired for their predatory skills and were believed to be symbols of luck and fortune.

From ancient Egypt, the exhibition moves into the Renaissance period – the next great age of art. Da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa is now a tan-coloured cat with arresting eyes and the hint of a smile. In Yamamoto’s re-imagining of Jan van Eyck’s The Arnolfini Portrait, the wooden slippers to the left of the portrait are ill-suited for human feet. Instead the curve of the soles is perfectly fitted for the fine paws of a cat.

Yamamoto’s audience may or may not know the names of the original artists. It does not matter. Wandering through the varied collection of cat art, the viewer is free to enjoy an instantly recognizable piece such as Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring for one.

The pure joy of fellow visitors made me feel pleased to have visited the exhibit. Packed as it was, the shared enthusiasm between strangers for this unique meeting of highbrow art and the common cat made the atmosphere playful and agreeable.

Text & Photos Victoria Mae Martyn