Launched in 2011, this annual event features work by a variety of international and Australian artists across a range of mediums. Sentience is a thought-provoking and ultimately rewarding display of art exploring the feeling, perception and individuality of animals other than humans. Sentience is an initiative of Animal Rights Advocates Inc.

The first Sentience exhibition occurred in 2011 from 16 January to  21 January, at Kurb Gallery, 312A William Street, Perth Western Australia.

The second Sentience exhibition ran from the 7-20 January 2012 at Kurb Gallery, 312A William Street, Perth Western Australia.

What is animal sentience?

1. The quality or state of being sentient; consciousness.
2. Feeling as distinguished from perception or thought.

Sentience refers to self-awareness and the ability to experience a range of sensations and emotions, of feeling pain and suffering, and of experiencing a state of well being. Sentient animals are aware of their surroundings and of what happens to them.

Research is showing us that the lives of animals, including farmed animals, are much more complex than we previously understood. Research suggests that their social groupings, communication, feelings of pain, fear and anxiety, and the positive feelings of pleasure and play are vitally important to them.

It is these ideas of animal experience and personality that we wish to capture with the work of sentience.

We are not in any way speaking or thinking anthropomorphically when we say that dogs and cats are sentient beings with distinct personalities. That is simply a matter of fact. We have no doubt that they have an interest in avoiding pain, suffering, and death. We grieve when they die. But our dogs and cats are no different from the animals whose bodies we eat or who are used to produce dairy and eggs. – Gary Francione