image explanations - Enough

ENOUGH is a poetic art response to many of the world’s troubles. As such, not every image has a direct correlation with a particular event or news story. The following offer some explanations but the series is designed so that viewers can provide their own interpretations.

1. Mission Accomplished – “America sent you on a mission to remove a grave threat and to liberate an oppressed people and that mission has been accomplished.” The words come from a speech George W Bush gave to US troops in Qatar in June 2003. The overriding title also refers to the banner behind the President on the USS Abraham Lincoln when he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

2. The End Of The War Does Not Equal Peace – Here a peace sign is made of gravestone sections. More soldiers and civilians have died in Iraq since the war officially ended than were killed during it.

3. It’s All About The Oil – One of the phrases most often heard from opponents of the war in Iraq. The black shapes allude to drops of oil but also dropping bombs.

4. Danger – This image grew out of a trip to the US a few years ago when there were a series of terror alerts sweeping the country. The events of 9/11 and the US government’s aggressive retaliation had produced a population wracked with fear – one that saw danger everywhere.

5. Casualties – These are slivers of gravestone strewn about to evoke the bodies of fallen civilians – the casualties of conflict.

6. Enough – Archbishop Desmond Tutu, commenting on the plight of Africa, wrote “At what point do people out there declare “enough”. We should also remember the times when millions of people from all over the globe did declare “enough” – when people refused to stand by while others suffered and died.”

7. Generals – The shapes in this image are reminiscent of epaulets and medals worn by the military chiefs who send soldiers to war. These same shapes also evoke the bodies of the soldiers who never return to their families.

8. Body Count – A homage to the fallen who become little more than statistics in military reports and news stories.

9. Jesus v Technology – Here, the face of Jesus is submerged by the printout of a malfunctioning computer. How much technology is currently being used, supposedly in the name of God, for war and destruction?

10. Inferno – Man’s arrogance in starting conflicts seems to me to literally open up the gates of hell in regions such as Iraq. This image harks back to Dante’s “Inferno”.

11. Battle Code – A very simple image evoking some of the cold terminology of military-speak and it’s bloody consequences.

12. Bunker – This came after reading a report that Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad bunker was designed so its occupants could survive a direct hit from an atomic bomb and then live for six months.

13. Black Wings – This is meant to evoke the nightly bombing raids at the beginning of the Iraq war. The ominous black wings of the bombers overhead brings dread to all who witness them.

14. Don’t Tell The First Lady – This image grew out of a report in The Economist last September that showed that after a very successful campaign to fight AIDS in Uganda, led by President Yoweri Museveni and his famous ABC program (Abstain – Be Faithful – use a Condom), the situation had reversed after condoms were no longer a key part of public policy. The reason was two-fold – the efforts of the president’s wife, Janet, a vocal evangelical Christian and condom-basher, as well as PEPFAR, the American president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief which tied funds to Uganda promoting abstinence rather than condoms. The report noted that the government was storing 30 million condoms which it used to distribute free. In the meantime, AIDS infection rates were climbing back towards the double figures of the 1980s.

15. Asylum – This image grew out of a media report in August 2005 that the year before a traumatised asylum seeker was forced to urinate “same as a dog” in the back of a van during a trip between Maribyrnong and Baxter detention centres. These centres were run by a privatised company, Global Solutions Ltd.