Askari

Matt Bottos

Victoria, Australia

  • Artist
    Notes
  • Artwork Comments 29

Artist's Description

Completion Date: May 2001
Skull and bone were found objects.
Smeared textures achieved by rubbing raw chicken skin on clear acetate sheets then scrubbed on concrete for the gritty textures. (yeah I know how gross that sounds)
The eye was taken from a photo of my dog “Kimo”.
My hand along with all the other items were digitized on a flatbed scanner.
All editing was done in Photoshop.

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Askari means protector/soldier/guardian in Swahili. Inspired by my dog Kimo.

Seems like such a longtime ago that my wife and I decided to buy a Rhodesian Ridgeback as a pet. A beautiful breed of dog, big and powerful with an intelligent and loyal temperament the breed originated in South Africa and was used to hunt Lions.

He grew to weight around 55kg. More than once he managed knocked me clear off my feet when we played. Yup, he was one big, tough dog, but there was a very different side to him that made him even more special to us.

For such strong dog he had such a delicate disposition. He hated water and would squeal like a sow whenever he went near a river or lake and if you ruffled his ears a bit too roughly he would let out a yelp. He was plagued with physical problems. He had splayed toes that made his feet look like flippers and as he grew he had problems with several slipped disks in his back and Folliculitis in his ears.

The thing that I remember most is that he was always there, watching and looking out for me. I always felt safe with him. When I’d practice guitar his favourite spot to sit was my guitar case. Even when he grew too big for the case he would still try to squeeze into it. Whenever I sat down his head would either end up on my lap or resting on my foot. Occasionally he’d jump up on the couch for a big 60 kilos worth of cuddle.

Kimo was probably about 4 years old when he died quietly by my side in the middle of the night. I was shocked at how affected I was by the event. I kept telling myself I was stupid for feeling that way. He was just a dog. I hated how dependant and vulnerable I felt so much that I vowed to never own another dog.

I don’t think I was consciously aware what this piece actually meant to me at the time I did it. But looking at it now, I guess it’s my way of expressing that Kimo, in some way, is still keeping vigil. It brings me comfort and reminds me of the way he was always looking out for me and keeping me company.

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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