Grateful Cats / Kiitolliset kissat


The Grateful Cats series is based on the Mexican Votive paintings (Ex-voto). “An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or a divinity, given in fulfillment of a vow. They are not only intended for the helping figure but also as a testimony to later visitors of the received help. As such they may include texts explaining a miracle attributed to the helper, or symbols such as a painted or modeled reproduction of a miraculously healed body part, or a directly related item. Especially in the Latin world, there is a tradition of votive paintings, typically depicting a dangerous incident in which the offeror survived. The votive paintings of Mexico are paralleled in other countries.” (

The idea for my paintings first came from my trip to Mexico, where I saw various styles and realizations of the votive paintings, which majorly had some similarities: Simple text (sometimes with errors in writings), illustration of the text, and an image of a saint. I have replaced the saint with an image of a cat, had a blue background, and gathered my stories from friends by asking what are they grateful for. As a material, I’ve used acrylic paint and cardboard or paper (A5 or A4 in size).“Votive paintings in Mexico go by several names in Spanish such as “ex voto,” “retablo” or “lámina,” which refer to their purpose, place often found, or material from which they are traditionally made respectively. Most votive paintings in Mexico are small, depicting the petitioner, the saint, or other religious figure and a description of the favor or miracle received. The purpose of the painting is to give testimony and thanks to the divine help. Most votive paintings depict is kind of near disaster, which the believer survived or recuperation from sickness or injury. Unlike static images of saints, these votive paintings are considered to be very public and intensely personal expressions of faith, often signed and even painted by the petitioner. Many have been created by artists hired for their creation, especially in the past when literacy was not common.“ (