ANTHRO ZOOLOGY. New drawings by Tom Van Herrewege

Exhibited at Leicester Contemporary. LE1 6DP.

August 18th – September 11th 2021.



  1. the interdisciplinary study of the interaction between humans and other animals.


Tom Van Herrewege’s work is inspired by a curiosity and awe of the evolutionary diversity of the animal kingdom, and how mankind has interpreted this around the world throughout history and today.

He is interested in how animals have evolved into what they are and the incredible variety across this spectrum. Yet it is also how animals exist in the human imagination, and the consequential impact that this has on the natural world.

It is how we understand them, categorize them, create ideas around them, worship and demonize them, utilize them, and the many other ways that humanity makes sense out of animals that is at the centre of his ideas.

In these new charcoal drawings, he has created realist depictions of various species in wild landscapes that are decisively rendered to describe the physicality and the behaviour of these creatures. The use of charcoal and chalk to create atmosphere is gestural, with hand stencils and playful mark making that allude to prehistoric cave art and the first depictions of animals.

Overlaid across the initial images, he has added delicate chalk line drawings across the surface of each piece, which describe how we are familiar with these animals. These softer line drawings are provoking for the viewer to consider the ever-increasing extinction crisis and the effects of humanity, yet they also celebrate the powerful charisma of certain species and how this has been embraced in folklore, cartoons, art, and cinema.

The artist’s intentions are to make the viewer pause and reflect on why we look at animals in the way we do, and to celebrate the strange and fascinating ways that one animal (us), perceives another. But it is to also make us consider the impact of this, and humanity’s place within the natural world.