Philip McKay, Goodbye Bl;ue Sky, 38x38cm, £300

 

A very bleak image. Would you not agree?
Is this a simple thought on a new war brewing? This certainly crosses many minds when we watch the endless stream of bleak news and see how those who hold power, however temporarily, behave towards each other.
The image, as Philip states, is a digital manipulation. Which is of course what it has to be, as it is a play on the well-known image told to children across Europe, where storks bring babies to the expectant new parents. Here however, the storks have been assigned a different task, a delivery of a much darker kind. A beginning that starts an end.

Apart from the storks and their swaddled war heads, there is also a lone figure of someone observing this happening. Is he however looking at them? Or is he walking away? There is some ambiguity, but the ambiguity stems from his powerlessness. What can one person do against the tides of history? What is it that moves the world and the humanity that was bestowed on it?

There is no straightforward answer. And art is often about asking questions. Not only about what the artist meant or intended but also how the artwork speaks to us. What do we see, what does it tell us about ourselves, about our community, culture. Would people from different countries view this image differently? Possibly. But so would different people from the same one. Possibly even the same family.
Symbolism seems straightforward but it can get quite tangled. Art from the Middle Ages and Renaissance was often filled with symbols, fairly easily decipherable by contemporaries. But was it? We all see the world slightly differently.

Is political art relevant? Can it do or change anything? Probably not, but it will prompt questions and discussions, which is always a good start.

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