During the aftermath of the the Gujarat Hindu attacks on muslim communities, this man is wearing a tri-colored (patriotic) skull cap in a relief camp. The question being asked here is how patriotic does he need to be to live?
In 2004, Joel created "American Fundamentalists (Christ's Entry into Washington in 2008)."
This full-size acrylic adaptation depicts current American religious, corporate and political fundamentalists and their lackeys whooping it up in a big parade celebrating the return of Jesus, as 2008 Washington burns, the sky is a permanent nuclear red, and everywhere snipers and military aircraft stand guard.
One major addition to Joel's version of Ensor's painting is the lack of spectators in the parade: the current popular interpretation of the second coming of Christ follows a disastrous World War and genocide of most of the population on the planet. In this interpretation of the Armageddon myth most of the planet's cities, culture, animals and people are lost in a fire-storm which ends in the few, chosen leaders ruling over the what's left for a thousand years, with Jesus as King.
Artist statement: “To a sceptical freethinker, the idea that some within the current American political and military establishment, and many who vote or financially support them, actually believe in this "happy ending" is beyond worrisome. More than the freedom to choose or not choose faith is threatened by these current political and cultural movements – all life on this planet, based on a dangerous modern interpretation of an ancient myth, is endangered in the real world by real people with the power to act.”
From a certain distance, the wallpaper appears to be purely decorative. On looking at it at closer quarters, however, the pattern is revealed to be composed of scenes of torture. They were created with the help of a computer, as pictograms in the style of traditional Persian miniatures.
Police file photos of prostitutes that were published in the daily papers and served a serial killer, a self-declared "avenger" who had murdered a number of women, as orientation in the choice of his victims.
Artist statement: “I painted this surreal street scene during the second half of the Ronald Reagan presidency. The large un-stretched canvas both documented the time and foretold of things to come. It's unnerving to me that the painting has a new, chilling, relevance in our post Sept. 11th world.”
These photos were taken secretly by RAWA members. They attest to the atrocities committed by the Taliban and the Northern Alliance, but also to the civilian casualties and suffering caused by the US bombing. These women put their lives at risk to take photographs revealing violent crimes committed against humanity between 1992 and 2001.
April 8, 2004
A copy of the Koran shot by US troops in the destroyed Muqtadah Al-Sad'r offices in Sad'r City. U.S. troops shot the offices with guided missiles and tank cannon fire and then proceeded to move in on foot and rip up and shoot copies of the Koran and pictures of Shia religious leaders.
Artist statement: “The phrase In God We Trust is part of the American National Anthem. Trust in God is represented in the 4th fold of the flag, symbolic of Americans 'weaker nature'. . . it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war, for His divine guidance, Because We Must . . . due to supposed superior morality, culture and political status, with the sanction of one almighty male God.”
Artist statement: “This figure tells the story of Tony Blair’s war in newspaper headlines. Photos of dead British soldiers mix with politicians and anti-war protestors. The piece takes on the role of war memorial and storyteller. The female form represents the suffering of women in war - losing husbands and children, the ones who protect and keep them. The five wristbands represent five years of war.
The poppy wreath shows how little we learn from history - we are destined to march our troops around the endless circle of war.
The cruciform is a reference to the faith of the politicians who regularly tell us what good Christian men they are, while to many they are just evangelical crusaders.”