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Dutch artist Katinka Simonse is known for killing and brutalizing animals for her performance art. Simonse, 31, goes by the name “Tinkerbell” and gives live presentations of animal abuse and mutilation. She claims she is drawing awareness to animal abuse and rejects the idea that her work is repulsive.
During one exhibition, she made 100 hamsters roll about in little balls around the gallery. She has also mutilated and dismembered dogs, put day-old baby chicks in a shredder, and has killed chicks and put hooks through their bodies, so she could hang them up. Simonse has said that she does this “to use an animal that is close to you in order to show what we do with the ones that are far from sight. I wanted people to think about that.”
Her acts has caused an outcry amongst animal rights groups, like the Dutch animal welfare party called Partij Voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals), and questions of why the Dutch government does not have stricter animal abuse laws. In a statement, the animal welfare group described the Dutch artist as disturbed and obsessive and that she used her shocking “art” as a way to get attention. They have petitioned the Houses of Parliament in the Netherlands to have stricter laws and harsher sentences for animal abusers.
Not only has Simonse abused animals in her performance art, she also brutalized her own pet cat, Pinkeltjie. When it became sick, she was not interested in paying for a veterinarian, so she broke her pet’s neck. Simonse then had the cat skinned and used its skin for a handbag.
During an interview on a television show called De Wereld Draait Door (The Turning World), Simonse laughingly showed the interviewer how she broke her cat’s neck and showed no regret for her actions. She described the killing of her three-year-old cat as a “mercy-killing”.
In a joint project with artist Coralie Vogelaar, Simonse published a book in 2009 of all the hate mail that people have sent her. It is entitled “Dearest Tinkerbell”. Not only was the actual hate mail included in the books, but also the names, addresses, and other personal information (like what is on their Amazon wishlists) of the people who sent the hate mail, a very controversial move on behalf of the artist and her publicist.
She has received over 100,000 hate emails from all around the world. Eighty percent of the hate mail was from America, and some of the other countries included the Netherlands, France, Russia, and the UK. There are currently two petitions aimed at at the Dutch government to stop Simonse and bring her to justice.