Location: ByWard zone
Description: What happens when guide dogs dance? An audio/visual installation of acrylic paintings documenting guide dog puppies at play together.
What happens when guide dogs get hyped up and really let their hair down? While the public are increasingly aware of service dogs, few know the process of raising a guide dog puppy or the reality of the working life of a guide dog. In When Guide Dogs Dance I explore and debunk common misconceptions of service animals as subjects of forced labour which are denied inherent animal behaviors such as play. In When Guide Dogs Dance my subjects are black and yellow labs dancing together on the canvas. When dogs play, time and space are irrelevant – movement and camaraderie are the only considerations. In my installation they chase, growl, jump, drool, sniff, pant and play endlessly – just like non-working dogs.
Bio: Themes of service and community inform my work. As a visual storyteller, my narratives trigger memories through depictions of familiar scenes: common place subjects engaged in every day rituals. I focused on the theme of healing and service through my portrayal of Canadian military medical personnel caring for the wounded in a war zone, Afghanistan. These acts of service are echoed in my more domestic settings on the home front: the ecclesiastic milieu, beauty salons, charity shops and restaurants. The figures who inhabit these works highlight the social bonds formed within these environments. My current focus is on the life of an on and off duty guide dog puppy – at Nuit Blanche I specifically explore the after hours pursuits of working canines. In When Guide Dogs Dance I document service dogs and puppies displaying exuberant camaraderie as they unwind together in play.