Anput and The Last White Rhino

Anput and The Last White Rhino
Anput and The Last White Rhino

Ok, that’s a little odd.

The plan was to play around with something simple as a distraction from a piece that’s turning out much more difficult than I’d planned. A bit of light relief.

And it grew and it grew and each day it wanted more and more and it took on a life of its own and ended up a sort of weird homage to Albrecht Dürer and Melancholia.

My Sketchbook page is turning into a strange pandemic diary.

Whaam!

Whaam!
Whaam!

Malevolent fucker. Big blind bug. Relentless like an Alien. The MQ‑9 Reaper.

Already had one bite at this cherry about 6 years ago but the Cornish climate has had its evil way with it. Sadly landfill.

When Roy Lichtenstein painted his masterpiece comics were still wallowing in the visceral and vicarious pleasures of the Korean War ten years after it was over … priming the pump for the next one … Vietnam was just cranking up in 1963.
And now we’ve been at war, on and off, and still are, for thirty years (fuck! — the first Gulf War started in the summer of 1990) … terrorising and maiming and killing brown people, in their own homes, in other peoples’ countries … not that you’d know it from most of the art that people are making in the “west”.

The Four Horsemen are now based in Nevada and all their horses are grey.

Perhaps the words would be different now:

I PRESSED THE FIRE CONTROL
AND IN FRONT OF ME
MISSILES BLAZED
ACROSS THE SCREEN

AND THEN I LEFT
MY SHIFT WAS OVER
TO PICK THE KIDS UP
FROM SOCCER PRACTICE.

The Four Dogmen

The Four Dogmen of the Apocalypse
The Four Dogmen of the Apocalypse

Pain, Fear, Shame and Death … attended by a murder of corvid drones.

George Romero and Quentin Tarantino take on Albrecht Dürer.

Well, that was how it was.

Odds and Sods

The Dream
The Dream

Bits and bobs.

Henry Fuseli — sheesh, whatever next? Just add a splash of China Mieville.
Romantic Sturm … Gothic Drang?

Welcome to Afghanistan
Welcome to Afghanistan

At least with Poussin I know where I am … ambivalent I suppose. Still, well gothy mind.

The Swing
The Swing

But Jean-Honoré Fragonard? That is a step too far. Cannot abide the man or that horrid little painting. Abomination is too feeble a word.

It must be frustration at all this Neopolitan, dancing on the edge of a volcano decadence of post lockdown madness … just how stupid can people be … or as N corrects: just HOW stupid can people be.

Sigh.

Cenotaph

Cenotaph
Cenotaph

… an empty tomb.

We’re brought up to believe that the Holocaust was unique, industrialised genocide was invented by the Nazis.

Reading a fascinating, sobering, infuriating, terrifying book by Sven Lindqvist, The Dead Do Not Die, and it’s bleeding into my dreams.

On 2 September 1898, Kitchener’s army of 8000 regulars used Maxim guns, Dum Dum bullets and 12 gunboats to mow down 12000 Mahdist forces in a few hours and secure the Sudan from the French.
The British lost 47 men and the enemy never came closer than 50 meters to their lines. He then ordered the wounded and captives be murdered and around 18000 were duly killed. Even young Winston Churchill blenched at that.

Hitler studied the British and Americans avidly in prison in the 20’s: white supremacy, eugenics and genocide. This is who we are. He was a good student and took our own brutal cultures to new heights.
Perhaps we need something more thorough-going than a commission on statues or whatever. And I’m not sure we really need any more … of anyone.
We need to start to de-colonialise, de-imperialise our culture, our institutions and our society in the same way Germany has striven to inoculate itself from totalitarianism and look its own history in the face.


I’m not sure we need “Black History”, but we do need history. And if it focuses on Britain then it needs to be looking at what we really did.
Our actions, in the past and still today, look monstrously different from the other side in Australia, North America, China, Africa, India, Iraq, the list is almost endless … everywhere we plundered to build our better world.
We need the Truth before there can be any Reconciliation.

Oh and by the way: Happy Golowon! Late night, early rise! Happy Solstice!

Wreck

Lion
Lion

Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!

The Gate Keepers

Imperial Gate Keepers
Imperial Gate Keepers

The police here, as much as in the US, strut and strike as a pumped-up, psyched-up occupying force, cuffing and humiliating, electrocuting and bullying and terrorising neighbourhoods where “nice” people don’t live and the “nice” people see them as their personal security service and they do this to enforce the boundaries, the differences, the variable opportunities, the access and freedoms that our system grants to the families of those who are already in charge, or those who service them.

Our democracy, institutions of power and privilege, our systems of access are not policed in the same way, here or in the US. Nice people, nicely spoken, nicely dressed, liberal, highly educated people sit in quiet studies and say 3 powerful words: Black Lives Matter. Well, they did this week.

And they say: It’s just that … I’m sorry but … very high calibre … unfortunately this time … a difficult decision … the right fit … you must understand … 3 powerful words.

They blight lives, exclude and act as gate keepers to defend their own supremacy.

Admissions tutors, arts administrators, hiring committees, social workers, teachers, bankers and civil servants.

To paraphrase Roy Batty: I’ve seen (and heard) things you people wouldn’t believe.

Cool shoes, smart casual, herbal teas … they do the same job. They don’t see themselves that way but they are the thug police.

They are defending Rhodes’ statue at Oriel College in Oxford … It’s been four years but now: Rhodes Must Fall.

And it must be the start of a new conversation and not the end.

The Overseer

the overseer
The Overseer

What do you say?

I’ve deleted so many lines … so many arguments and facts and figures, references to books, articles, people and stories.

We circle back, round and round.

We need to read, listen, talk, argue, build, learn and change, make alliances and friends … and we do. And we circle back, round and around. We say their names and they are taken by the wind.

And we circle back again.

So the answer is not nothing. I’m just going to work. From the inside out. Images are just as fraught as words. But it’s what I do.

George Floyd

George Floyd
George Floyd

Drowning in the delirious beauty of Julius Eastman’s Femenine, I thought that so much has happened since 1974, when the music was written, and so little has changed.

We sanctify posthumously and then get on with our lives and they don’t.

Those handlers could just as easily be taking him down from the wall with all their intensity of care, to make room for the next face, to add him to the stack of portraits facing the wall, on a loop like Eastman’s music.

Pietà

Pieta
Pietà

Words fail me.