“Taking a Chance” by Rhiannon Cook

Rhiannon Cook (11th), Mixed media on cardboard, 2023

“Rhiannon Cook of Kenner Discovery turned her idea into reality, based on the relatable nature of Rodrigue’s history and challenges as an artist. I love her unique and brave interpretation. She owns her personal expression, 100%!” -Wendy Rodrigue

Rhiannon is a student at Kenner Discovery in Metairie, Louisiana, and her art teacher is Peter Barnitz.  Since establishing the Life & Legacy Foundation in 2017, Wendy Rodrigue has visited Kenner Discovery multiple times, thanks to a generous sponsorship by Henry and Pat Shane.

Rhiannon describes her work:

For this piece, I wanted to make something that captured the chance that George Rodrigue made when he first created the Blue Dog. The idea came to me after hearing this year’s prompt, “weird, wild, and abstract”, and it brought me back to when Wendy Rodrigue came to my school, and told us how people didn’t like the Blue Dog when it was first displayed. It made me think about how the Blue Dog was this weird abstraction of George’s imagination of the loup-garou, and how it became this almost biblical being. It would become his legacy, this angelic face that people would interpret whenever he draws the dog in a different medium, as represented through the extra sets of wing ears. Constantly taking different forms and sizes.

People would forever look at the Blue Dog as an inspiration for Louisiana art and culture, and it all started with George going off his own beaten path from what he usually makes. The dog collars floating around the dog’s head spot some of George’s other abstract pieces, representing how he didn’t always used to draw the Blue Dog, and that these other less well-known paintings are what lead to the Blue Dog’s creation. Because if he never did anything different, we wouldn’t have the Blue Dog.

“Taking a Chance” by Rhiannon Cook
Wendy Rodrigue visits with Rhiannon’s class at Kenner Discovery.
Left, work by Rhiannon Cook, center work is by art teacher Peter Barnitz, and the work on the right is by Lea F. (11th)