Hi, my name is Mariana Vidmar (aka ARA)
I'm a journalist, freelance artist and founder & coordinator of the Croatian Center for Active Animal and Nature Protection "Key".
From 2011. till 2015. I ran an educational-activist non-profit NGO called "Stop speciesism" (Stop specizmu) whose goal was to inform about social injustices and to promote alternatives, with the goal of educating the public about veganism, non-speciesism and the abolitionist approach to animal rights.
As of 2016., we expanded our area of activity and launched the first
Croatian Center for Active Animal and Nature Protection "Key"!
The Center for Active Animal and Nature Protection "Key" primarily works as an educational-research center which will conduct a variety of desk and field research methods, as well as observation of animals in the natural habitat, with a strong emphasis on an undisturbed observation that won't in any way affect their natural way of life, their habits and natural needs. Taking into account various scientific, social, environmental and economic factors, we want to get concrete and relevant information about the current state of protection and implementation of animal rights, and effective ways of implementing their protection now and in the future. The Center for Active Animal and Nature Protection is also a place where all our theories about the protection of animal rights and nature, and a peaceful co-existence of man, other animals and nature are applied in practice. Because a different world is possible - and it's not just a theory.
Find our more about the Center here: www.centarzp.org/en
Follow Center for Active Animal and Nature Protection on facebook: www.facebook.com/czzzp
ABOUT ANIMAL RIGHTS ART
„Animal Rights Art“ is a series of artwork that speak about various issues animals are faced with. Through performances, paintings, digital designs, videos, short documentaries, writings and other forms of expression, my goal is to raise awareness about important issues to which most people don't even pay attention.
Through the years, I experimented with various forms of art and expression. Here are some of my most memorable moments and works:
I filmed and directed the first official music video that speaks about the Canadian seal hunt, the video "The Hand Strikes Hard" by Superbrands. The video was shown on the 10thAmateur Film Festival in Zagreb, as well as on MTV Adria and other music channels.
My paintings, sculptures and other creations were exhibited in Rijeka and Zagreb (Croatia), Austria, Germany and France, and my first „Animal Rights Art“ painting "Forever Wild or a Slave?" was on auction at the 2011 National Animal Rights Conference in Los Angeles, CA.
In 2010, I made a comic called „Speciesism?!“ which was then featured on a Croatian comic exhibition and contest called „Stereostrip“. The goal of „Stereostrip“ was to show various stereotypes and common myths about social issues through comics.
My articles about animal rights, speciesism and activism can be seen online at www.centarzp.org and some other websites (currently only in Croatian). I also published two brochures: „Radical Activism or the Fight for Equality“ and „Introduction to Animal Behaviour“ (University of Edinburgh, 2014.), which will soon be available in English.
Two of my essays have been published in books called „Why I will always be vegan“ and „I'm a vegan – one movement, many voices“, both available on Amazon.
In a nutshell – I use my creative, curious and researchive personality to speak up about important issues and to make people think, to provoke and get a reaction, to sparkle a debate and most importantly – to make a change for the better. I like to create and/or share information which I find useful, important and interesting.
I also film short films about animal
rights, speciesism, activism, shelters/sanctuaries, as well as vegan cooking
tutorials and tutorials on how to help animals in your everyday which can be
seen online at www.youtube.com/stopspecizmu and on my (new) personal YouTube channel: Nature Reporter
My activism for animal rights began at the age of 13 when I started volunteering at a dog shelter. I realized that most people will gladly help animals, but at the same time create a huge dividing line between animals they consider „friends“ and animals they consider resources or food.
I realized how discriminated these animals are and how important it is to speak about their lives and the injustice they are faced with, and how important it is to make a change for the better and to help all animals – regardless of their species.
From then on, I continued to speak
up about those issues through art, street activism, publications, videos,
documentaries and other forms of expression.
Recently, I have focused more on
photography and video, creating (or recording and sharing) content with useful,
important and interesting information. I think it's extremely important to
share information which you won't see or hear in the mainstream media, and to share the stories and thoughts of different people who have something important or useful to say - something to make you think. Without
information, there can be no change.
On a personal note, I'm a proffesionjournalist and I love learning new things, reading,
researching, D.I.Y. arts & crafts, martial arts, extreme and adventure sports, tattoos and body modifications,
being in nature, bike riding and spending time with my human and non-human
family (three dogs - Buba, Bola and Benzi, and seven cats - Tatyana, Tigrica, Onyegin,
Nero, Xena, Rocky & Rambo). I also like to volunteer in shelters and travel around with
my camera, capturing interesting moments in life.
And now for some formalities;
EDUCATION & COURSES
LECTURES, WORKSHOPS, PUBLIC SPEAKING
DOCUMENTARIES & SHORT MOVIES
Unvarnished truth By: Johnathan A. Roberts
At first glance, much of the art of Mariana impresses one as being darkly expressionistic. Recurring themes of innocent animals enslaved, killed and imprisoned, the sometimes distorted features of her subjects heavily outlined in bold blacks fading into dimensionless fields of blood red, washed over in robustly simple earth tones, reveal a creative impulse that is partly rooted in an unmistakable sense of dread and of horror.
Another element of her work which immediately stands out is its political nature. It is not political in the sense of partisanship or concern for any one political party, but rather in its concern about legal policies which serve as justifications for society's ongoing cruel treatment of a segment of the population who, even in the most liberal democracies, are not recognized as being worthy of the same rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that humans take for granted. Given its political aspects, it should come as a surprise to no one that her work, with its straight-forward content emphasized by a stark backdrop, shares some common traits with a long tradition of revolutionary poster art.
It must be said that her unflinching focus on the the callous abuses of humanity toward the defenseless, however dark it may appear at first glance, shows an artist unafraid to look truth in the eye. Here is a young woman strong enough not to need or desire anyone to sugar-coat her view of reality in order to help her get out of bed and face the world each day. Furthermore, that Mariana's role as an artist is inseperable from her role as an animal rights activist also tells us something very important: Here is a young woman who holds the powerful belief that facing the unvarnished truth about the impact of our actions on those we share the planet with can lead us to improve the world, to ease the suffering of those who have no voice and perhaps redeem us all. Thus, her art also comes from a place which can only be described as humanity's better nature. Each brush stroke is an unequivocal act of hope and an expression of deep compassion and empathy. And that, finally, is what makes it important.