Dog statues on the wharf

Paws on the Wharf: celebrating guide dogs through art

London’s Canary Wharf has become a vibrant hub of creativity and inclusivity as a unique art exhibition celebrating the bonds between guide dogs and their human companions has pupped up.

“Paws on the Wharf”, produced by Guide Dogs, in partnership with Wild in Art and supported by Citi started on 25 March and offers a free public art trail that highlights the power of creativity while raising awareness about sight loss.

London-based artist Becky Smith, is one of the artists who worked on a sculpture on the trail.

Smith during the creation stage of the project. Credit: Becky Smith

Smith said: “‘Life is Golden’ was inspired by nature, life, and growth. I am inspired by everything I see around me.

“Every single flower on my guide dog is embellished with glow-in-the-dark paint, this is important for what guide dogs represent.

“This is my way of interpreting that not every disability is always visible and is a play on the vision.

“Guide dogs itself was the main representation of what I could personally bring to the project. A lot of my work goes viral with the glow paint, as it is something people don’t expect.”

Charlie Langhorne, Managing Director and Co-founder of Wild in Art, said: “Paws on the Wharf will bring colour and creativity to Canary Wharf, capturing everyone’s imagination and providing a unique opportunity to experience inspiring artwork while learning about the important work of Guide Dogs.”

PAWS FOR THOUGHT: Raising awareness about sight loss is one of the aims of the project. Credit: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

The centerpiece of this initiative will be 25 guide dog sculptures, each meticulously crafted by a different artist. 

Five of the sculptures will feature exclusive artwork by artists with sight loss, with Angela Charles, Alex Devlin, Kevin Gavaghan, Sian Healey, and Clarke Reynolds, adding unique perspectives to the exhibition.

Additionally, to encourage education and awareness among school-aged children, Guide Dogs collaborated with schools in Tower Hamlets for a student-led sculpture design competition.

The winning design from Ben Jonson Primary School was brought to life by trail artist Jill Busby and is featured on the main trail.

The art trail will encompass 16 sculptures in Canary Wharf and nine in the wider Tower Hamlets borough. 

Additionally, Innovative technologies such as the NaviLens App and NaviLens Codes will enable people with sight loss to navigate the trail independently, providing information about the sculptures, artists, and sponsors.

Finally, Guide Dogs will host an exclusive art auction featuring the sculptures when the event ends on the 17th May, offering art enthusiasts the opportunity to acquire unique pieces while contributing to Guide Dogs’ essential services.

PAW-INSPIRING: 16 of the 25 sculptures are based in Canary Wharf. Credit: The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association

For more information and updates on news and events, visit or follow along on Instagram at @pawsonthewharf_guidedogs.

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