Syracuse University

SU News

Community Folk Art Center to host 'Dogs in Transition: Pit Bulls & Mill Dogs' by artist Cyrus Mejia

September 13, 2010

Kevin Leonardi

Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) will be hosting the exhibition “Dogs in Transition: Pit Bulls and Mill Dogs” by Cyrus Mejia from Sept. 25-Dec. 11. “Dogs in Transition” features large-scale paintings of dogs from two of Mejia’s series, “Pits and Perception” and “Mill Dogs Revenge.”

dogThe opening reception will be held on Saturday, Sept. 25, from noon-2 p.m. at CFAC, 805 E. Genesee St., in Syracuse. The reception is free and open to the public. Mejia will be in attendance, accompanied by trained animal ambassadors.

Mejia’s art focuses on activism and reflects the ideals of kindness and compassion while shining a light on “speciesism, ignorance and cruelty.” Mejia is also co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society, which operates the nation’s largest sanctuary for homeless animals near the town of Kanab, Utah. Best Friends is especially known for rehabilitating 22 of the pit bulls rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation.

“We are extremely excited to host this exhibition,” says Christopher Battaglia, curator at Community Folk Art Center. “Cyrus’ art personifies his dogs, and the observer can truly see the hardships the animals have been through by looking at their faces. We are proud to host this exhibition for the fall, and we hope that the Syracuse community will appreciate this unique exhibition by a talented artist.”

“Pits and Perception” is the first series on view and portrays pit bulls in a manner that challenges modern-day perceptions of the breed. With increased attention toward dogfighting in the media, many view the pit bull as a vicious and aggressive dog. Through his paintings, Mejia challenges these beliefs by forcing the observer to take a closer look and question public perception.

The second collection, “Mill Dogs Revenge,” features dogs rescued from commercial breeding facilities, colloquially known as “puppy mills.” Victims of physical abuse, emotional trauma and neglect, these dogs are often subjected to cruel conditions because of human greed for profit.

Mejia hopes to raise awareness of the cruelty of puppy mills through his art.

In conjunction with “Dogs in Transition,” CFAC will host related educational programming throughout the fall, including:

  • Saturday, Oct. 2, at noon: Canines & Companions Day–SPCA adoptions, dog tips & tricks from local professionals. Leashed dogs are welcome to attend.
  • Thursday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.: Film screening–“Through a Dog’s Eyes” by Peter Schnall. Discussion will follow.
  • Saturday, Nov. 6, at noon: Animal figure drawing workshop–all ages are welcome to attend.
  • Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.: Film screening –“The Puppy Mill” by William Wolfenden.

Recent News