Because anti-war ‘art’ isn’t just for the US:
LONDON (AP) – An artist’s triptych of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, naked, stony-faced and surrounded by haunting images of the war in Iraq, is one of the arresting sights at a major London art exhibition.
Michael Sandle, whose “Iraq Triptych” was unveiled Wednesday at the Royal Academy of Art’s annual Summer Exhibition, depicts a morose Blair and his horrified wife, Cherie, as Adam and Eve, struggling to cover their nude forms outside their Downing Street home.
Sandle’s black-and-white drawing, in charcoal and chalk, includes panels showing a soldier beating hooded and naked prisoners and a pile of corpses, one with tape covering its mouth.
“This is a biblical allegory—Adam and Eve expelled from paradise—and this is Blair’s legacy,” Sandle said, calling the Iraq war “disgraceful.”
The charcoal drawing was modelled by the artist, who is 71 and has sculpted many public commissions, on medieval paintings of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden in disgrace. The embarrassed central characters outside No 10 are flanked by one panel representing brutality by British troops in Iraq and another showing a pile of Iraqi corpses under an Hieronymus Bosch-like rain of body parts.
The brutality panel is based on the case of Corporal Donald Payne, who admitted inhuman treatment of Iraqi civilians at a court martial last year in which other soldiers in his unit were cleared amid controversy. Sandle has called the panel “Corporal Payne’s Chorus” because the soldier invited others to hear what he called his “choir” of victims screaming.
“I wasn’t going to submit this year, but I suddenly felt overcome with anger at the way Blair has messed up,” said Sandle, who originally thought he had missed the submission deadline.
He worked non-stop, including fixing up the framing required for all entries, after staff reminded him of the 10 days of grace allowed to academicians entering work. “There he was, elected by a huge majority, and he has allowed his vanity to destroy it all,” added Sandle. “He doesn’t appear to feel a twinge of conscience about Iraq because he is so sure that he did the right thing.
“They have talked about the original perpetrators of violence being the ones who should apologise, but what about the 650,000 Iraqis who have died since the invasion? Who is going to apologise to them, and how?”
Sounds like an older, male equivalent of Rosie O’Donnell.