Paws On The Wharf Sculpture Trail: Raising Sight Loss Awareness

Lorriane Offord, daughter Lily, aged 7, and guide dog Theia, visiting one of the sculptures from ‘Paws on the Wharf ‘. Credit: Matt Crossick/PA wire.

Guide Dogs and Wild in Art have come together to create Paws On The Wharf, a fully accessible sculpture trail raising awareness of sight loss. 

It’s not just a feast for the eyes; it’s an inclusive art experience built around your other senses too.

The trail consists of 25 stunning sculptures with an added layer of tactile art, making the trail more than visual.

Designs either offer a look at the world through the eyes of visual impairment, or they include sensory elements such as textured paint, mosaic tiles, felt circles, sequins and of course braille.

The route is step-free and can be accessed through the NaviLens App and NaviLens Codes, which allow people with sight loss to visit and enjoy attractions more independently.

You will find sixteen of the sculptures in Canary Wharf, while the other nine have been set up in parts of Tower Hamlets borough.

Paw On The Wharf will be available to the public until May 17, after which the sculptures will go to auction and all proceeds donated to charity.

Credit: Guide Dog for Paws on the Wharf.

Guide Dogs will also be offering tours on specific days for anyone who would rather a sighted guide tour. These accessible tours will include scented items and tactile objects hand-picked by the artist to enhance their work.

A number of the sculptures have been created by artists with lived experience of sight loss, which offers an important insight into their unique visual world. While artists without vision loss have been challenged to be more inclusive in their work, most incorporating tactile elements into the sculptures themselves.

Some of our favourites


Hope and Resilience

This marvel was designed by painter Kevin Gavaghan who embraces his Central Serous Retinopathy (CSR) by creating art reflective of how he sees the world.

He says: “My design represents tackling the difficulties we face in life. Recognising, owning life challenges, and pushing onwards for a better life. Acceptance of the good and striving to do better. Recognising life is challenging and beautiful at the same time.”

Dot to Dot Dog

Clarke Reynolds is known as the ‘Blind Braille Artist’ and he has created a design that’s made to be viewed with your fingertips.

Clarke said, “Dot to Dog was inspired by the colour blindness tests. Embedded in the design is the braille alphabet raised in acrylic domes. A visual madness but when touched you will discover the dog’s secret.”


Artist Lois Cordelia has painted a collection of portraits of iconic historical figures who had vision impairment or sight loss – some famously, others less so. The imagery references Monet’s waterlilies painting, who suffered significant loss of vision from cataracts.

The texture of the oil paints is present and this is also Lois’ chosen scent.

Guide Lines

Scenic artist Sue Guthrie said: “Guide Lines is inspired by the artwork of icon Bridget Riley, whose art epitomises London cool in the 1960s. My hope is that the bold design will appeal to all, with tactile elements making it accessible to vision impaired visitors. The white elements are smooth, and the black elements are slightly raised and textured.”

Her chosen scent is fantastic, mint humbug!

Life is Golden

London-based artist Becky Smith says her design is inspired by life itself and nature. And there’s a touch of magic – her floral artwork will glow in the dark of the city night! This encourages people to look at things from a different perspective and understand that sometimes there are things you can’t see, including hidden disabilities.


Multidisciplinary artist Lauren Mullarkey wanted to highlight the incredible bond shared between guide dogs and their owners. Trusty’s tactile design asks you to explore with your hands and look closer. His shiny and reflective face also encourages a bit of introspection and self-reflection.

Laura says that Trusty is, “Comforting and dependable like a strong-rooted tree. This kind hound radiates love, care, and inclusivity.”

Discover more about the trail over on the Guide Dogs website

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Hannah McLaren

I've worked at DC Thomson for six years! I began as an intern at My Weekly and The Scots Magazine, which was extended by a few months to help out at The People's Friend. I then covered maternity as Celebrity Editor for My Weekly, before I became Multimedia Journalist at The Scots Magazine. Currently I'm writing digital content across each title.