Yan Zen | Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

"Blind Men & a Dog"
by Yan Zen

About the Artist

Yan Zen is a technologist by education, a linguist by hobby, a budding artist and a writer of martial arts novels.

About the artwork

Yan Zen's art dog

This work is inspired by a story that Yan Zen read in a school textbook when he was young. It is the story of a group of men who are all blind. The men come across an elephant and, having never encountered one before, they each use touch and feel to understand what it is. However, each of the men touches a different part of the elephant, affording them only a partial experience of the whole animal. Later, each of the men try to describe what an elephant is, but they firmly disagree because each description is limited by that person’s particular perspective. They cannot draw a full picture unless they each listen to the perspectives of everyone else. Later in life, Yan Zen discovered that this was actually a Buddhist parable, about the limits of perception and the incompleteness of anyone’s point of view at any time about anything. For his interpretation of the story for the Chinese New Year Festival, Yan Zen has replaced the elephant with a dog, and depicted robotic humans using textured decoration.