Anyone looking for a slightly off-kilter way to while away an evening in Hackney Wick this week would do well to zip down to Stour Space, where Finnish illustrator Inari Sirola will be examining our relationship to body image in the 21st Century. Through the medium of drawings of sexualised dogs. Of course.
Hot Dog, which runs at the gallery from 23 August through to 2 September, is an assemblage of images that asks the viewer to consider their understanding of gender roles and beauty values. By making them look at really, really weird drawings of dogs.
“Humour is something everyone can approach and deal with,” Inari tells us. “In my life, whatever difficulties I’ve faced, I’ve always found humour to be a very important tool.” So it stands to reason that the images collated in Hot Dog veer toward the playfully uncomfortable. “Combining the funny and the disgusting is definitely something that intrigues me,” Inari says.
Given the canine stars of the show, it made sense to ask Inari about her favourite dog-related memory. “During my angsty teenage years, whenever I’d head into my bedroom to cry, as you do, my now-passed dog Nappi would come in, jump onto my bed and try and lick my tears away. Is there any better show of unconditional love than that? I don’t think so.”