Percy Street, London
12th – 18th October 2012
'End the corporate war in Afghanistan. Honour our troops. Bring them home'
Peace activists and contemporary artists took part in this powerful art
exhibition in London's West End.
The main focus in the room was a giant box called The
Westminster Cabinet built by peace campaigner Maria Gallastegui
in response to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was positioned outside
Parliament for about 7 years and used as a kitchen area, place to rest
and to store placards. Maria gave the Peace Plinth
its name because decisions to go to war are made by the Cabinet at Whitehall
instead of 'democratically' in Parliament.
Kennardphillips’ Photo op 2005 showed
their famous image of Tony Blair with his mobile phone photographing his
handiwork of a huge bomb explosion and his inane grin as he stands in
front as if taking snaps of his newborn child. Peter Kennard has in the
past produced work for CND including the reinterpretation of The
Hay Wain by John Constable but with added trident missiles.
Kennardphillips’ Study for a Head 2012
is for me the standout piece. It takes up almost a whole wall and is different
reworkings of Cameron's head printed directly on top of the Financial
Times stock market newsprint. The first image shows him in all his smug
glory but the remaining images show the outline of his head and layers
of ripped pages with inserts revealing the damage he is doing. We see
the city of London's corrupt financial towers; tinned up houses, the NHS
logo, riot cops, luxury goods, burning vehicles, oppressed black people
and scenes of poverty.
Schoony’s The Old Lie (triptych) 2011
is made of spray painted white fibreglass and red spray paint that looks
like blood with a child soldier in relief holding a grenade. The stenciled
words 'DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI' across the triptych refer
to the Wilfred Owen poem about the reality of war and it's propagators
of lies. Don't say to children 'It is a noble thing to die for one's country'.
That is the 'old lie' in the title of the work.
The work was made by Schoony using his seven year old nephew and he raises
the issue of how children in other countries just a few years older are
made to fight and how horrifying this is.
There are plenty more works on show including Alison Jackson's photographs
made using lookalikes of political figures usually in compromising positions
like Blair being a foot stall for Bush as he mounts his war horse.
As the world hurtles speedily towards a possible World War 3 it has never
been more urgent to show the illegality and evils of warfare and this
week long show certainly did that.
For more information: