Snowdogs Discover Ashford is a free public art trail coming to Ashford, Kent, this Autumn, featuring 35 giant Snowdog statues, each one hand-painted by an artist. The trail runs from 12th September until 18th November 2018, and is a Wild in Art event, brought to you by Ashford Borough Council and Pilgrims Hospices.
Above: a small part of Lois's design, along with Snowdog and wardog mascots :-) N.B. Lois cannot reveal the full design publicly until the trail goes live on 12th September!
Ipswich-based artist and speed-painter Lois Cordelia was commissioned to paint two of the 35 giant Snowdogs for the trail, and travelled to Ashford, Kent, in July to bring her designs to life during a three day public art demonstration at County Square shopping centre. One of her two designs is called Lest We Forget the War Dogs (1918-2018).
Lest We Forget the War Dogs (1918-2018)
Sponsored by Ashford Borough Council
With so many events this year commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War (1918), it is nevertheless easy to forget the 20,000 brave war dogs who were trained in dangerous front line duties, bringing first aid to the wounded, alerting soldiers to enemies, leaping across trenches, carrying messages between outposts, pulling machinery and equipment, and boosting morale among the troops. Some wore gas masks and had food, water and medical supplies strapped to them. Some became decorated with war medals. Lois's design Lest We Forget the War Dogs (1918-2018) is especially inspired by a quotation from a 1916 newspaper, which observes: "A watchdog never barks; at the most he will use a low growl to indicate the presence or approach of a hostile force. More often than not the mere pricking of the ears or the attitude of expectancy is sufficient to put his master on his guard."
Lois remarks: "I've never had dogs of my own, though have often looked after other people's and witnessed their loyal devotion. Many of the dogs of WW1 were beloved family pets, who were sent away to be trained for the war effort. In researching war dogs, I was deeply moved by the stories and anecdotes I found, but most of all by photographs of the dogs, which brought the stories vividly to life. My design is based on a few of these references. I hope it will touch many hearts and remind people of how much we owe to the war dogs."
Lois adds: "Where else can you walk through a town centre and find a piece of history as startling as the WWI tank in the centre of Ashford? It seems especially meaningful and poignant in this centenary year, and fits with the commemorative theme of Lest We Forget the War Dogs (1918-2018)."
Ashford Memorial Gardens commemorate both WW1 and WW2.
The design is generously sponsored by Ashford Borough Council and will be appropriately placed in Ashford Memorial Gardens for the duration of the trail. It will still be there on Armistice Day 2018.
What is a Snowdog?
Raymond Briggs' much beloved children's book The Snowman is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Its television adaptation first appeared in 1982. This film is powerful and haunting because it is wordless. For this reason, it makes sense that the 2012 sequel The Snowman and the Snowdog features a dog, the Snowdog, because dogs communicate so effectively without words - as do public art trails. These days, people rarely visit galleries or museums to see art – instead, art springs up on every street corner.
About Lois Cordelia:
At one end of the scale, Lois is a speed-painter with a big brush, sweeping strokes, lots of energy and bold colours, creating portraits, wildlife art, landscapes and townscapes. She loves big canvases – especially three-dimensional ones, like giant Snowdogs! At the other end of the scale, she cuts intricate designs out of paper, using a surgical scalpel, and sculpts detailed miniature figurines from imagination.
Lois remarks: "I'm happiest working live in public, especially in the company of other artists. There is a completely different dynamic when creating live, talking with people while I paint, absorbing ideas and inspiration."
This year, you can see Lois's work as part of the following public art trails: Hoodwinked 2018 (Nottingham), Let's Go Quackers (Ironbridge and Telford), Minerva's Owls of Bath (Bath), Bee in the City (Manchester), Bangers and Cash (Sheffield to Monte Carlo art rally), and Snowdogs Discover Ashford (Ashford).