13. Care, 1997-1998, acrylic/tempera/oil/print/canvas, 200 x 400 cm

13. Care, 1998

This work is about care and trust.

To the left a veterinarian is teaching several women to care for wounded animals, in this case a dog. It’s probably a 100% fit dog, if you look at the dog’s gaze saying: “Why am I here?” The women, however, do a thorough job of bandaging the dog’s head, chest, shoulder and paw.

Next to this scene there’s a baby sitting in a bouncer chewing on the nipple of a bottle of milk with clenched fists. The bottle is held by a wire wrapped in cloth, an invention from 1943 to allow women to continue working for the American war industry, not losing time on feeding a baby. In the background two greyhounds, very muscular but sweet dogs jump a hedge in an Amsterdam dog race from the early 1930s.

For most parents this would be at least a bit frightening and a stressful situation.

Remarkably enough the people around the dog are mainly occupied with their own needs and ignore their immediate vicinity. Either they don’t care at all or they trust greyhounds intuitively to change from hunters to custodians and take care of the child until the mother returns.