28-year-old Noortje Zijlstra is a part of a new group of Dutch artists who are gaining recognition for their fusion of taxidermy and art. Noortje, in particular, takes the macabre practice of taxidermy to the next level – some of her pieces include a white dove’s head mounted on a shuttlecock, a stuffed squirrel standing on its hind legs with a test tube in its throat serving as a flower holder, and a single preserved baby chicken leg mounted on a wooden stand, covered in fluffy white feathers. Her studio is also home to a family of mice with their hides replaced by decorative colored sugar.
“My work fuses taxidermy and art, sometimes creating work that may shock or even revolt, but I hope it serves as a catalyst for conversation,” she said. Her latest work involves a frozen crow carcass; she’s not yet sure what it’s going to become, but she hopes that the final piece gets people talking. During an interview with AFP, she demonstrated how she cuts into the bird’s breastbone before removing its insides. “This is what I do,” she said. “I take its ‘jacket’ off and use it as a medium for art. As soon as that happens, it ceases to be a dead animal.”