Born in 1947 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Cyrus Mejia spent his youth in the South, growing up in a richly cross-cultural household. His mother was from Mississippi; his father was a native of Colombia, South America. Mejia studied painting, drawing and ceramics before traveling abroad, spending several years in Europe.
A chance encounter with dogs caged in a London research laboratory turned his sights in a new direction. No longer could Mejia practice his art without incorporating this indelible experience. He says, “I was so shocked and moved by what I saw that I had no choice but to try and help animals in any way that I could.” His way would incorporate art and, subsequently, much more.
In 1984, Mejia and his wife Anne were among a dedicated group of animal-loving friends who founded Best Friends, a sanctuary for abandoned and abused animals, currently home to about 1,600 homeless dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, horses, pigs, goats, mules, sheep, burros and wildlife. A place of refuge and rehabilitation, Best Friends helps animals to heal, and adopts them to new homes, while also providing forever care for the animals who aren’t able to be adopted. Best Friends’ programs also include workshops for people, education, support and resources in animal care.
Cyrus Mejia lives and works in Utah, home of Best Friends, with his wife and their family of dogs and cats. Mejia is also the co-founder of Raven’s Heart Gallery, an exhibit space providing a platform for artists celebrating animals and respect for all beings. Cyrus Mejia’s work continues to reflect his passion for the animals and the Earth we share, and a message for deepening awareness, empathy, and kindness.
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