Anti-War Art Essay Sample

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Introduction of TOPIC

Especially the Iraq and Afghanistan war triggered a range of anti war art. There is an American website set up by artists to support anti war protests: http://antiwar.us/mission/index.php – allowing free download of graphics.

Banksy
Compared to other contemporary anti-war art Banksy’s work is rather subtle, intelligent and witty – and as such probably more influential than the into your face art later on in this text and that often concentrates on a morally driven and mainly emotional appeal along the lines that war hurts and kills people and so on.

New York, Museum of Natural History 2005
His one line art (in a good way) and his public stunts in which many of them were “published” made them famous and instantly well known. This image has been hanging at the Museum of Natural History, New York. (Banksy 2005a) As done in other instances Banksy simply went in there in May 2005 and glued the frame to a wall, which led to world wide recognition. (Michael 2006) The name of this “species” appears Latin, but actually reads: With us or against us, which unfortunately is the simple principle that often seem to dictate US foreign policy and let to a lot of military action. George W. Bush for instance addressed the US congress in 2001 saying: “Either you are

with us, or you are with the terrorists.” – leading to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very slick and excellent witt. Other Banksy work:

Palestine 2005

Bansky went to Palestine in 2005 to make a rather unique political statement. The founding of Israel in 1948 had let to a displacement of Palestine people from their homelands and in the consequence to a war like situation in that region that is still not resolved today and had cost thousands of lives. Israel increased the pressure when it built a monumental wall trying to keep people out of their territories. The protest not necessarily against the establishment of an Israeli state itself, but against its policies of annexation later let to protest all over the world, but not often done in a intelligent and human way as Banksy did with his graffities. From a Guardian article: Although the painting

s themselves are not overtly political, his feelings about the wall are apparent from his statement:

“The Israeli government is building a wall surrounding the occupied Palestinian territories. It stands three times the height of the Berlin Wall and will eventually run for over 700km – the distance from London to Zurich. The wall is illegal under international law and essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison.” They are not all equally good (some are a bit too patronising)

(Banksy 2005b)

Soldiers drawing peace sign 2005/6

(Banksy 2005/06) This Banksy stencil was released around 2005 in print format, with around 700 limited edition prints made available for sale. It was also painted on a wall somewhere in London (said in Banksy’s book “Wall and Piece”) and a large canvas version of the stencil was included in an art display in support of political activist Brian Haw at his protest camp in Parliament Square in London in 2006, which he set up against the Iraq war and the way the British government had tricked the country into this illegal war and lasted for over 10 years.Banksy donated the print to him as support for his aims and as potential financial support (if sold – worth around £20.000) Haw died in 2011 from lung cancer. (The BigotBasher 2011)

Francois Robert
Photographer and artist Francois Robert uses real human bones to produce a series of artworks that make a statement about the consequences of war. “Each image is a symbol of war or violence, such as a gun or a tank, and I wanted to show that sadly the human skeleton is often all that remains from such acts of violence. This is what you are left with after war – a body count” (The Telegraph, 2010) They are visually very impressive, but only (?) carry the old and over the century often repeated message – people die in wars. Only a few images go further – for instance using religious motifs (cross, star) or ideology symbols (USSR- logo) – and somehow scratch on t he question why – even though people know that war hurts – they still engage in it. The project was apparently inspired by a chance find at an auction. Robert bought when he bought some school lockers for $50 and in one of them was a wired-together human skeleton. The skeleton lay hanging in his studio for over a decade, until a lack of work due to the recession encouraged Francois to turn the bones into art. But because the parts were wired together for educational purposes, Francois decided to trade his skeleton in for a box of real human bones! This information was one of the reasons why people took more interest in the work – knowing that there was actually a real human there in the photos. (all following photos: (Robert, Francois 2010)

Quotes: Jones, Sam 2005,’Spray can prankster tackles Israel’s security barrier’, The Guardian, viewed 16 January 2013 Michael, 2006, ‘At It Again: Banksy’s Adventures in New York, viewed 16 January 2013 Banksy 2005a, ‘Withus oragainstus’, Print viewed 16 January 2013 Banksy 2005b, (no title) graffiti, paintings on IsraelPalestine border wall viewed 16 January 2013 Banksy 2005/06,Soldiers drawing peace sign – Stencil on plasterboard viewed 17 January 2013 The BigotBasher 2011, ‘Protest in Peace, Brian Haw. May you always be remembered’ viewed 17 January 2013 The Telegraph, 2010 , ‘Stop the Violence: art made of human bones by Francois Robert’, viewed 20 January 2013 Robert, Francois 2010, ‘The Violence, – series of photos, viewed 20 January 2013

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