“Structural violence” describes the systematic ways in which social and societal structures harm or otherwise disadvantage individuals.
Structural violence is subtle, often invisible, and often has no one specific person who can (or will) be held responsible (in contrast to behavioural violence). More can be read on this subject in my blog HERE
I’ve been basing some of my previous development artworks on a similar subject to this story.
It’s already illegal to be homeless in some places, such as Southern California.
You can’t be jailed yet for owing money yet, but if enough is taken from you (and THIS makes you homeless) they’ve got you!
Many of Americas prisons now resemble the Dickensian workhouses or Victorian debtor prisons where inmates work for zero pay to pay off debt owed to the system.
The blue tarpaulin – Europe (Throwing it away)
This highlights the anguish felt by a seething angry forgotten generation that has felt the brunt of the Euro zone crisis and savage austerity cuts.
Unemployment for the young in Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal is running at 50%, this is totally unacceptable. The rise of fascist, neo-Nazi organisations, that includes France, is also a worry with race hatred and cultural polarisation and attacks on migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers on the rise (Source: Human Rights Watch).
I’ve utilized recognizable Olympic motifs and Lord Sebastian Coe’s LOCOG slogan, “inspire a generation”.
I’ve also taken the news story of the ring of military might that will enforce “security” in London during the Games which may include Ground-to-Air missile launchers on blocks of flats, a Royal Navy warship and tens of thousands of armed soldiers!
I wanted to comment on the takeover of the capital city by the rapacious road show of the IOC.
I also wanted to respond to how athletes are being used as political propaganda and also wanted to echo newspaper photographs from around Europe (most recently in Greece) of far-right nationalist organisations demonstrating and holding lit torches, mirroring the Olympic torch.
The character may also be interpreted as a London rioter. However I’d like him to represent the UKUncut movement, the Occupy movement and those rebelling against the savage cuts and the unjust attacks on a generation.
The yellow sheet background – Oceania (Leap of Faith)
this artwork depicts acts of extreme distress spread amongst Iranians in Baxter IDC. It highlights the plight of Christian Iranian refugees who fled their homeland of Iran where there are over 70 forms of state sanctioned torture, for the refuge of Australia only to find themselves; men, women and children, detained indefinitely at Baxter Immigration Detention Centre on Christmas Island. One of the most remote islands of the Pacific. There have been rooftop protests where inmates have committed suicide by jumping to their deaths. Some of the most shocking acts of extreme distress were the teenage boys who sewed up their own mouths while on hunger strike. This case has been labelled “barbarity by omission”.
The shallow relief design that is reminiscent of a palm tree island is in fact a rendering of a close up photograph of the boy who sewed up his mouth in protest at being detained behind bars, his crime was fleeing religious persecution and torture.
The black tarpaulin – Africa (Gold, Silver and Blood)
I was influenced by this speech from 1935 to the League Of Nations as a consequence of Italian fascists using nerve gas on the Ethiopians;
“Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the INDIFFERENCE of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.” – by Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.
The image is a montage I’ve put together in Photoshop. I utilised multiple layered Photoshop effects on a NASA satellite image of Africa to get a molten precious metal effect. I wanted to achieve an effect of molten Copper, Gold or Silver. I think it worked well eventually.
A child labourer is shown (where Western Africa would be) doing back breaking work panning for gold in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Along the top of the image (where north Africa would be) the silhouetted image of notorious thugs of Lord’s Resistance Army rebels threatening to beat and rape a mother (her worried face can be just seen near the Red Sea area of the image) of children that the thugs want for child labour working for “blood diamonds” or oil piracy or digging for precious mineral ores or for their private army of child soldiers. I used the newspaper images taken by French reportage photographer Veronique De Viguerie.
In the foreground (where south and central western Africa would be) are images from news media of victims suffering from famine. Famine and starvation has been used as a weapon of mass destruction in areas of Africa including Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and D.R.C where warring factions fight over possession of mineral wealth. Many of these countries at one time were fully self sufficient with some of the most fertile soil on the planet.
“The use of starvation as a weapon of mass destruction may be primitive but has been effective.” James Nachtwey, war photographer, TED awards winner.
The green sack background – Asia (Tibetan 50m Sprint)
After 53years of non-violent protest against Chinese occupation Tibetans in exile have ramped up their direct action. More than 100 Tibetans have self-immolated since 2008, 30 separate cases of self immolation happening in the last 12 month period by Tibetans in exile in India.
I have avoided using phrases such as “made in China” as I believe this is the strongest image I have produced out of the five.
The exact story behind this artwork is as follows: “New Delhi, March 26, 2012 – A Tibetan man set himself on fire during a protest in the Indian capital, with the arrival of Chinese President Hu Jintao. The man, identified as Jamphel Yeshi, 27, protested near the Indian Parliament when his body was covered with flames and ran about 50 meters and fell. He finished with 98% of his body burned and his condition is critical. He had escaped from Tibet in 2006 and the last two years had lived in New Delhi.”
The red Christmas sack – the Americas (Men’s 10m rifle shooting)
This artwork highlights the Florida “Stand Your Ground” Law and the senseless slaying of Trayvon Martin, aged 17 shot twice at point blank range by a trigger happy neighbourhood watch man.
An article I read from Florida Voices particularly highlights the absurdity of a law in Florida State that the killer — neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman — is hiding behind.
Zimmerman had no training, no rules and up to now, no consequences for the slaying of an unarmed African American youth walking home with a bag of Skittles candy for his young brother.
The Trayvon Martin case prompted a political cartoon by R.J. Matson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A black guy holds a smoking gun pointed at a dispatched white guy, also holding a gun, lying under a neighborhood watch sign. The black guy says to a cop, “I had a reasonable fear the neighborhood watch guy following me was going to fear for his life and shoot … so I shot him first.” To which the cop replies, “Makes sense to me.”
I thought the bright red Christmas sack (with a slogan on it) adds an ironic statement about the overwhelming materialism and consumerism of the USA and North America as opposed to the poverty experienced throughout the countries of South America.
Newspaper headlines and stories have been an excellent source for ideas, especially when combining headlines as mash-ups; as in the “REVERSAL” workshop project.
I pursued and developed this idea from the work I had produced on canvas in the “REFLEX” project, where I’d used mixed media, shredded financial pages and newspaper cut-out photographs.
I have also experimented with painting techniques and materials and experimented with household DIY products to come up with a very unusual way of transferring images from paper print outs onto virtually any surface.
I had to experiment with a range of printer output to get a satisfactory result and found that ink jet inks were of no use to me for this project, though laser printer and the photocopier were.