In their collaborative performance piece, Karen Bailey and Kim Kilpatrick delve into issues of identity, accessibility and canine service using sound and images. Referencing the idea of labour and community, Karen Bailey’s acrylic paintings depict the socialization process inherent in raising a guide dog for the blind. Born blind, storyteller Kim Kilpatrick brings forward the voice of an artist with a disability; voices not often heard in our community. Using her art to break down the barriers erected towards herself and others with disabilities, her personal stories reflect the lived experience as a handler of a guide dog.
This performance installation echoes an historical truth - mans relationship with animals has been economic, passionate and complex. In contemporary society, with an increasing emphasis on the rights of non-human animals, we must ask ourselves: is he just a dog that works, a tool to make humans life easier or is he more than that? Does he choose a life of service or is it forced upon him?
In “Raising Stanley”, ultimately the audience must decide.
Stanley is with the Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind.