Politics In Art – Paint And Be Damned?

As my father was a diplomat I spent my childhood in Sweden, then attended primary school in Turkey, after which we moved to Tokio. When we returned I went back to school in Turkey, but I was 15 and had learnt at the American High School in Japan that you could think for yourself – not what was wanted of me even if acceptable at home. As a result I moved to the UK when I was 19 and stayed, having married while at university. All of which has made me acutely aware of issues linked to identity and culture.

But everything social is to a degree also political and that creates problems for the artist. You want to avoid painting cartoons or posters, in short agit-prop, keeping in mind also that German Expressionism used up a lot of ground. Still, fools rush in where angels fear to tread…

This painting from 2015 is my first attempt at depicting social issues. It adapts Di Chirico’s crazy angles, his obsession with flags and Nietzche. I think the Republic of Turkey suffers from a crisis of identity, one which afflicts all other ‘democratic’ countries that had empires in the recent past. However, whether Di Chirico or Botticelli or any other Western painter or genre, none helped me in my search for social expression.

I’ll leave you with a couple of examples, from 2015 and 2016 repectively, before picking up the thread in my next blog, when I will explain how I came upon a solution. In the meantime, I look forward to any comments you might want to share with me on this issue.

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