artist
Ozymandias

2004, 62 x 66″ (158 x 168cm)

People bury land mines and then people bury the victims of land mines. What are we doing to our world and what are we doing to each other?

Land mines and the devastation they cause are a potent symbol of how the innocent suffer from the effects of war—most victims of land mines are children and the elderly who unwittingly stray into an unmarked mine field. Man thinks he is in control of his world but unexpected natural disasters and predictable (and preventable) man-made disasters are equally deadly. This quote from a poem by Shelley epitomizes such hubris.

“… ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

Along the bottom of the tapestry, in blue-green boxes are the land mines, hidden and deadly. I have woven them as drawings to introduce the human element, the artist’s hand, and used metallic threads to emphasize their man-made nature.

Above lies a rag doll with gingham and hearts referring to the innocence of childhood. Lost limbs are the primary result of a land mine. The doll lies in a vast desert, a wasteland with distant buildings on the horizon lit up by tracer fire in a night sky. The tracer bullets can be seen as fireworks and I used shiny yarns to make them more festive, a contrast to their true purpose.

For me the bird is the angel of death, menacing and lethal, but it could also be seen as an avenging angel crying out in anguish over what man has wrought, or a mother bird crying out a warning. The arrangement of the bird’s feathers and their vibrant colours are at odds – is the bird alive or dead? Is this apocalyptic future inevitable?

 

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