Not in My Name
The text accompanying this exhibit is in the form of a letter to the folio ‘Not in My Name’
1 W 72nd St./NY/ NY/ USA/ 10023
…We have ‘tough’, destructive words like war…and more challenging, constructive words like love, peace…and phrases like “dying with honour”. What about living with honour? How can the media twist violence to seem attractive to so many when love is so spectacular?
For the folio I’ve been trying to create gentleness and dignity in the face of tragic callousness. I’ve been moved by the pathos of the ‘kinship ribbon’ given to mothers - each star representing a son (or husband) killed in war; by ‘white feather campaign’ intended to humiliate men opposed to war; by the profiteering of arms and media corporations (and even baby food companies!); by surviving soldiers and heroes who became peace or anti-war activists; by images of children in the crossfire…images that I wish I could share with you.
With government commemorations creating support for more wars, it seems as if we are standing against a tsunami of militarism. Nice people ‘waving flags’ and sending their children off to yet another war and another. Heartbreaking.
“It is an artist’s plea for peace and while this is a desirable condition in life,” a critic once wrote of my work, “the irony is that visual artists’ depictions of war and violence (rather than peace) engender the best images”. He actually wrote “engender the best images!” I know that great art – tender, caring art - can stop a bullet from being fired. No. I’m not a ‘dreamer’ (your word) but like you I know that a gun is evidence of fear, violence is weakness and war is failure.
I do want to change the world. Will my small folio do this? Maybe it will help a little. Right now I want people to know where I stand and who I am standing with and for what reasons and I invite them to join us…
We’re truly grateful for the work you did.
(PS. Sorry you won’t get to see the prints.)