Documentation from June 16, 2018.
In this new public commission, undertaken in partnership with the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, artist Gareth Long will care for two donkeys from the Sanctuary each Saturday throughout the month of June, taking them for short walks along the Lower Don Trail in Toronto.
Long has introduced the motif of the donkey in many of his previous works, as a way of engaging with methods of education and the processes of learning. Culturally speaking, donkeys have a long history as a motif in art and literature, typically representing stupidity, the “ass” or the fool; but they are also often included to represent moments of metamorphosis. In some of the oldest donkey stories – The Golden Ass by Apuleius, Lucius, or the Ass by Lucian, and Bottom from A Midsummer Night’s Dream – this “beast of burden” is frequently depicted as undergoing a process of transformation, changing itself, as well as the people and environments around it.