A Year Long Art Project
The 10,000 Collars art project is a yearlong project to raise awareness of the thousands of dogs killed each year at the annual Yulin Festival in China. The project is to raise awareness of the thousands of dogs who need adoption and help to survive this festival each year and to highlight the importance of adopting not buying dogs.
I am an artist, art teacher and Head of Art Department currently living and working in Shenzhen Southern China. In September 2017 I adopted a beautiful Border collie mix who had been rescued from a meat truck heading to the Yulin Meat Festival. I have firsthand experience of the trauma, inhumanity and barbarity of how dogs are treated here. What started off as a go fund me fundraising page to take my dog Draco back to the UK with me has turned into a marathon art project designed to raise awareness and to raise funds to help the volunteers who save a huge number of dogs who have been mistreated, abused, tortured and killed each year.
2018 Yulin festival starts on the 21st June this year and that is when this project will officially begin. I will produce 10,000 pieces of art in a year for the estimated total of dogs killed over that weekend. In regards to the art work I will work with various mediums, materials, styles and techniques. The art pieces will evolve as the project progresses over the year. I hope to explore and experiment throughout pushing my artistic boundaries and limitations with various techniques and materials.
When I adopted my dog he had been in a vets for two months due to the horrific injuries he suffered including scalding, beatings, starvation and torture. As we left I saw a cardboard box full of dog leads and collars from the hundreds of dogs that came off that meat truck. Many dogs were not just strays but stolen pets. When developing this idea the image of that box of collars reminded me of the concentration camps and the thousands of articles of belongings left in piles the glasses, the shoes, the articles of clothing, which gave me the idea of using the collar as a symbol of all the dogs lives lost to this slaughter of innocence. Hence the title 10,000 Collars.
I have been really affected by all I have witnessed and experienced during my time in China. I feel that I need to do something to help make a difference especially as I am leaving China to return to the UK. I don’t have the finances or resources to save all the dogs so I want to be able to do something with the skills I possess. Even though I am Welsh and from the UK where this festival does not occur it would be a real travesty for all of us watching this sat back and did nothing to try and help the obscene amount of dogs not just killed for meat but tortured, beaten and skinned alive, whether you are a diehard activist, vegan, vegetarian or meat eater no animal on this planet deserves that treatment at the hand of humans. What kind of planet are we living on where this kind of treatment happens with people standing by doing nothing?
I have been thinking about how I can make a difference. Yes I adopted my dog and am giving him the best and most loving life possible, I give treats the stray dogs on the street, I donate to the rescuers here in Shenzhen and across China doing all they physically can to save as many of these dogs as possible but we can’t save them all. Collectively we can all make a difference by changing attitudes and raising awareness. I will make a difference with the tools I have as an artist and will raise awareness and the funds through my art 10,000 pieces over the year of the dog.