Karen Bailey and Kim Kilpatrick: Raising Stanley


Karen Bailey:The Staircase, 2015  acrylic on canvas, 101 x 50.8cm

 A collaborative exhibition of paintings by Karen Bailey, depicting her experiences of raising a guide-dog puppy. The paintings are accompanied by Kim Kilpatrick’s stories about living with a guide-dog. Both artists were present at the opening, as well as Stanley, and Tulia, Kim’s guide dog.

June 14, 2015 to  July 19 2015

The artists thank the Tontine Awards for their financial assistance with this project.


Raising Stanley presented the first phase of a project that the artists plan to present in a larger venue in late 2016. Each of Karen Bailey’s paintings has an audio component: Kim Kilpatrick talks about her personal experience as a handler of a working guide dog. Each story recounts a specific encounter between herself and her dog that corresponds to a similar situation that occurred during Stanley’s training, depicted in the painting. Together, the painter and the story-teller show how early training prepares for specific future tasks.

While the public is increasingly aware of service dogs, few people know what is involved in raising a guide-dog puppy, or what the working life of a guide-dog is like. In Raising Stanley, Bailey and Kilpatrick explore and debunk common misconceptions of service animals as subjects of forced labour, denied inherent animal behaviours such as play.  They highlight the importance of guide dogs and reflect on how their efforts and strengths enrich the community of people and animals.

This exhibition was the third one in RIA’s Growing Up Human, a series of exhibitions and events in during the year of 2015, and possibly well into 2016, through which we will examine what it means to be human in a post-humanist era.

In each exhibition, one work that was originally shown at RIA’s BYOA – Bring Your Own Art – January 1 2015, will make an appearance in the new exhibition. In Raising Stanley, we’ll re-visit Erin Robertson’s Romulus and Remus, a sculpture that shows the mythical founders of the city of Rome as twin human babies being suckled by a wolf. In the context of the new exhibition, Robertson’s whimsical piece may be asking the question: who is raised in Raising Stanley?

Karen Bailey’s past work has included courtroom drawing for Global Television, book illustration for Appletree Press, U.K., heraldic art and calligraphy.  A graduate from the Reigate School of Art & Design, England, she has twice received the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation grant for drawing and painting. Her paintings often depict people who are completely absorbed in their task. Subjects have ranged from charity workers and hair dressers to military medical personnel in Kandahar, where she was the appointed military artist in 2007. In 2012 she was chosen to paint the official portrait of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada (2012). www.karenbailey.ca

Kim Kilpatrick is a storyteller, former para-olympian and disability rights activist, who has handled four guide dogs. Since 2001 she has been performing as a storyteller, appearing regularly at the National Art Centre’s Fourth Stage with the Ottawa Storytellers and in story-telling festivals across Canada, including Toronto, Montreal and Saint Mary’s.  Her one woman show “Flying in the Dark” was presented at the NAC’s Fourth Stage in 2013 and the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa as well as at venues in Peterborough, Perth and Wakefield. Kim has acted as a mentor for other storytellers since 2004, and hosts “Welcome to My World”, an hour-long weekly radio show on CKCU, which aims to change the conversation and preconceptions about disability.


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