K-9 Courage, the newest special exhibition at the 9/11 Memorial Museum, which honors the hundreds of dogs that participated in the response to the 9/11 attacks, opens January 31, 2020. This exhibition combines photographs of the dogs during their service with Charlotte Dumas’s portraits of them later in life. The exhibition will be on view until December 2021
K-9 Courage honors the hundreds of dogs that participated in the response to the 9/11 attacks. With dedication and specialized expertise, these four-legged responders made a difference with their handlers during the rescue and recovery efforts—and made a lasting impression on people around the world.
After September 11, 2001, K-9 teams searched the wreckage of the crash sites for survivors and victims, and they comforted responders and the families of victims. When images of the dogs at work appeared in news coverage, they brightened 9/11’s dark aftermath.
Ten years after the attacks, photographer Charlotte Dumas remained curious about the fate of the 9/11 dogs. She located 15 of them and traveled around the United States to make portraits of the dogs in their retirement at home.
This exhibition combines photographs of the dogs during their service with Dumas’s portraits of them later in life. It also includes artifacts that tell stories of working dogs and disaster response veterinary teams.
Almost two decades after dogs responded to the 9/11 attacks, and one decade after Charlotte Dumas revisited some of them in her project, K-9 Courage pays tribute to the canine responders that were ready when the country needed them.
Via Andriesse & Eyck Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The notion that the state of humanity can be read and studied by the way we relate to animals is a vital thread in Dumas’ work. Her choice of subject relates directly to the way we use, co-exist with, and define specific animals, assigning various symbolisms to them as well as our own personal reflections.
It is her belief that the disappearance of the actual presence of animals as a given in our society greatly affects how we experience life and for example our ability to be empathetic with one another.
The gap that currently exists between animals used and seen as a food resource on one hand and the anthropomorphic use of them on the other (as they are also often depicted in visual language) contributes to an increasingly contradictory relationship. When it comes to animal topics, emotions often run high. It seems the less we are in direct contact with them, the more we lose the perspective of their true capacity and what they mean to us and we to them.
Dumas has been observing different animals, mostly horses and dogs, within specific positions for over a decade. she is particularly interested in the complexity of how we define value when it comes to animals as well as how we attribute value to ourselves and others. The context of her subjects is what defines each subject.
Charlotte Dumas has held numerous solo exhibitions at venues throughout the world, including Museum De Pont, Tilburg (2015) The Photographers’ Gallery in London (2015), Gallery 916 Tokyo (2016 and 2014), Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (2012), FO.KU.S., Innsbruck (2010), Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam (2009) the exhibition Stay at andriesse eyck galerie and most recently her choice for the exhibition in the Nederlandse Fotomuseum In Rotterdam.