I started the year with a month in Indonesia working on an art project there to raise money for B.A.R.C. Bali (dog) Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre. Australian artist Linda Buller who went to Ubud to find a peaceful place to work founded B.A.R.C around 10 years ago. See her work here: www.lindabuller.com her huge expressive canvases overawed me when I visited her studio. Her plans to settle into the routine strangeness of an artist’s life were interrupted by the plight of the island’s dogs.
As a fellow animal advocate I am unsurprised by the fact Linda was distracted from her art by the situation of these poor dogs who are suffering from abuse, over population resulting in starvation, unregulated disease epidemics and the threat of being captured and sacrificed to appease demons. What did surprise me was the energy and dedication Linda, Ebony and the other volunteers and staff at B.A.R.C. devote to their cause. I spent a month there volunteering, chasing after wayward three legged dogs, feeding, cleaning and talking to visitors and it was exhausting physical and emotional work.
Despite my tiredness and my unavoidable ‘dog smell’ after a day working with these amazing animals, who still have so much joy in human company despite their histories, I was inspired to paint a few portraits. I found a parallel with how Bali’s dogs are treated and the treatment of ‘vermin’ animals here in London which I've explored in previous works. I hope to contribute to helping Bali's much-maligned strays by painting them with the same innate dignity I attempted to convey in the foxes and pigeons in my 'Rats with Wings' collection. I have donated these paintings and the rights to the images to B.A.R.C for them to auction or sell at charity events.
Please visit B.A.R.C’s website to find out what you can do to help whether you have time, money, skills or social networking skills they can use you and the dogs do need you: www.balidogrefuge.com