Never Again: A Genocide Experience

Sola Arts & Connecting Cultures
International Gallery, Slater Street (21st-27th January 2008)

Reviewed by John Owen

The death, destruction, and utter cruelty or barbarism of war and its offshoots is brought out in this timely chilling reminder of the all so human cost of wars, be they victims of fascism or extremes of nationalism or religion, the cold logic an illogicality of violence.

The sparse but no less moving graven images are casually drawn on the floors in piles, young and old indiscriminately dead on the killing floor where they died, piled atop each other. Now only candles of light, the only spirit of humanity left beneath the crushed victims glows in silent memory, their clothing on lines ready to be worn again, hanging grimly all around the debris and destruction personally brought to life of wars. Genocide victims - the dehumanized personnel who the blank generation x follow orders “to kill” man, woman or child. Personal narratives hand drawn on the walls depict the tales of human life snuffed out by the military for race, ethnicity or other spurious reasons, godlike power exercised with the rationale of a psychopath a very vengeful god indeed.

Lastly these sombre pieces didn’t prepare me as I went through the curtains for the last instalment, the brutal torture room. Bare ordinary everyday items that shout and scream in agony, hanging above in medieval Borgia style a torture victim already missing fingers awaits further debasement, lying like the rest of the equipment matter of fact on the table.

These works are all too real in today’s climate, their impact is immediate and sudden, a bullet to the head approach. Go with somebody, be prepared to be moved and disturbed. The works speak for themselves, the voices of those strangled and silenced echo around the space, it’s up to us to make that silence a deafening roar.

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