MaryAnn Loo

Art Series: Little Dreamers

Who am I?

What is my purpose?

Where are we going?

What is this journey really all about?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt that there was more to life than an ordinary and mundane existence, and something far greater than the world we’ve been conditioned to survive in.

For many years I sought answers through religion (I was baptised at one month old as a Roman Catholic), and when that no longer was enough I continued my seeking elsewhere, and that journey is ever ongoing.

As an artist my work has always been inspired by my journey, but I hoped to explore and express a different angle with this series.

In addition, I took on the challenge of completing 100 new mixed media illustrations over 100 days, though due to other commitments during that timeframe, my 100-day timeframe stretched to 134, from 19 Jul to 29 Nov 2021.

And as if 100 new works over 100 days wasn’t challenging enough, I also ended up writing a short poem for each illustration.

Looking back now over the 100 artworks — without realising, I had divided the series into four parts, each consisting 25 artworks and depicting a certain stage of the journey.


Days 1-25 are filled with philosophical musings, as the Dreamer ponders the meaning of her existence, and is hopeful for answers from the great beyond.

These works may appear bright and colourful, but there is an undercurrent of loneliness and lostness as she attempts to navigate unseen pathways through intangible spaces on her own.

The penguin character is symbolic of one’s spirit guide, one’s higher self, perhaps even the seed of one’s consciousness.

Eventually as we enter into Days 26-50, the Dreamer wanders through a series of rooms, doors and seemingly tangible spaces, attempting to navigate the ins and outs of reality and its structures, while continuing to stay true to her dreams and her quest for answers.

With the blurring of lines between reality and dream, it’s only natural that her internal defences arise to protect her from venturing too far outside of her comfort zone.

Thus Days 51-75 introduces another realm in the Dreamer’s psychic space, one where she must battle the unconscious and shadow parts of herself (i.e. her darkness), in order to keep the dream going.

This shadow (from Jungian psychology) is the deep unconscious part of ourselves that tries to protect us from perceived harm, but it inadvertently gets in the way of our evolution and progression.

Part of the journey then is understanding our darkness and learning how to work with it, so it becomes our partner and ally through life.

Which the Dreamer eventually figures out, and in Days 76-100 the shadow self has become a willing companion for the rest of the journey… through PenguinWorld.

Finally a narrative unfolds, as the Dreamer wanders through this strange land where nearly everything is a penguin hybrid.

While this world is familiar and yet not quite so, the Dreamer is called by a lighted path, though she knows not where it ends.

This final phase is a metaphor for the journey we take through life, trusting our gut as we navigate unfamiliar territory to unfold more of who we are and discover what is true and authentic to our very core.

At the end (Day 100), the Dreamer ends at a similar place as when the series begins (Day 1), but after all she has experienced, she is no longer the same as when she had started.


View my other galleries:

Project: 100 Dream Trees

Art Series: “PenguinGirl & Friends”

Art Series: Dreaming Penguins

Art Series: Illustrated Travel Stories