‘God’ becomes ‘Dog’ when you read it backwards.
It is not about a play on words that if you deny God, you become a ‘dog’.
Rather, it is about the juxtaposition of Dog and God.
It is definitely true that God and the dog are the same in the light of at least one fact.
That is, they give us unconditional love.
According to the folk tales of North American Indians, the only animal that God gave to humans as a companion animal is a dog. Dogs appear in legends from around the world as either the alter ego or agent of God. If so, did not God intend to give us unconditional love through dogs, his alter ego? Every gesture and gaze of dogs must be a way of God expressing his love to us.
I think the artist is asking us the following questions through various types of works.
‘What does a dog mean to us?’
‘What are we supposed to mean to a dog?’
Dogs convey various meanings to humans in legends and folk beliefs from around the world. Dogs are sometimes the guardians of humans, judges of the human soul, guides that lead the human soul to its eternal sanctuary, and lucky charms that bring good fortune while defeating evil. Aren’t those the meanings that God gives to us? In that case, it is not easy to deny the claim the author wants to convey to us that ‘God and dogs have the same heart’. The artist tries to find the existence of such a mind from the ancestors of dogs manifested as gods or from their figures painted on the door. It seems to be a witty reinterpretation of the Ancient Mesopotamians’ wish to defeat evil by burying dog statues under thresholds or placing them everywhere in the home. The dog icons, representing a monk improving his/her mind or tapping on a moktak under a waterfall, are the oriental interpretation of the dog and God’s minds that they wish for one’s peace and good fortune. In this way, the artist is looking for the meanings that dogs give to humans.
The ancient Indians firmly believed that the souls of humans and animals were not different from each other and that animals were always sacred and had the same souls as humans. The ancient Persians thought that a third of a dog’s soul originally came from humans. Looking at the creation myths of Central and South America, you can find the story of God turning humans who disobeyed his word into dogs. Myths suggest that dogs are related to humans in some way, regardless of their origin in the East or the West. Myths and folk beliefs are always futile stories, but history that humans and dogs have been living together shows that they are not just unreliable ones. The two sometimes cooperated and depended on each other and shared the same history.
If so, how do we regard and treat the companions of that history now? We call them companion dogs or family members, but we drop them on unknown roads when we feel uncomfortable with them or tire of them. As they sometimes become the object on which humans vent their anger, they are severely beaten to a pulp. It often happens that they become meaningless objects that are disposed of while being used merely as objects of entertainment. The artist harshly criticises human immorality and selfishness in his various works. It seems he is questioning us about what we should mean to dogs.
What the artist is trying to find through those two questions is perhaps the word ‘love’, which has been faded in our hearts. As Josh Billings said, dogs are the ‘only animals that love you far more than they love themselves.’ They give us unsparing love, like God’s heart gives us. If so, what about us? The thick chain that appears on the artist’s work is a warning sign to all of us.