'Sleeping Dogs' is a large, very detailed design assembled from individual pen and ink drawings.
The dogs vary greatly, each one has a different texture of fur, is from a different breed, or a mongrel, has a different character and pose. All together they form a coherent unity, a landscape of dogs interwoven as a pattern.
The design is inspired and influenced by various experiences and mythologies.
The actual drawings are derived from very different dogs: street dogs encountered on travels, beloved pets of friends, or unknown darlings on the web. But all the dog drawings have a bit of their own identity, never intended to be a mere copy of an animal I met or saw on a picture.
Dogs enjoy a rich mythological history. The dog has long been viewed as a liaison between the physical and non-physical dimensions. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts and Aztecs all have prescribed the dog as a sacred guardian of the Otherworlds.
Besides this powerful association with death and transition, as a symbol the dog often stands for loyalty, friendship, guardianship, protection and communication.
But the design also relates to the contemporary place which dogs occupy in the lives of humans.
Dogs are man-made animals. We coexist with them almost everywhere, and have been throughout most of our recorded history.
We breed them as helpers, friends, tools or weapons. A dog can be someone's best friend and someone else's worst insult. We use them, abuse them or spoil them.
Their faithfulness and respect towards humans makes dogs bear almost anything we inflict on them.
The dog may be a mirror to us human beings - reflecting our diversity of values, how we treat each other, our inconsistency as individuals and as a species. This allegorical relationship is ingrained in many popular cliches in various languages, some english examples are the underdog, a dog's life, dog eat dog.
To let sleeping dogs lie may be a wise thing to do, or just pure cowardice, depending on the circumstances....