Definitely not for burning…

Following on from my last, vaguely controversial post:
I would crawl over hot coals to save this lad’s bed from a Naples-style inferno before anything in Antonio Manfredi’s gallery, and certainly before anything created by Damien Hirst.
An Iraqi orphan, the child – how old is he? Seven? Eight? – has drawn a picture of his lost mother to cuddle up to.

Are you moved?
You should be.
This image works on many levels. Unbearably poignant as it stands, the fact that the child is described as Iraqi raises questions, for me at least, about how his mother died; about the ‘collateral damage’ that is inflicted on the innocent during a ‘just war’ and its aftermath. Of course she may have died from entirely natural causes but the inferences are there to be drawn.
How can they not be?

Two works in one: the photographic image, and that terrible, beautiful bed.
Beautiful because it’s True.
A solace and a provocation.
This is Art.

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9 thoughts on “Definitely not for burning…

  1. Funny, you know when something’s good: it speaks for itself. There’s nothing else to say, really. Certainly no recondite exegesis required.

  2. I usually hate consensus. Unfortunately the more I see things the more I realise that everything has its pros and cons. I understand your point of view concerning your previous article about burning art, though, I’m afraid to say I don’t totally agree with you. Art good or bad is part of Culture. Culture makes people think. Science makes people think too…so what ? does it mean one is better than the other ? Or worst, more useful ? If we start talking about usefulness than what is more useful, a mother, or a father ? My answer is, without both we don’t exist. Ask the little boy …

    • I don’t expect people to agree with me – I enjoy debate, that’s the point of blogging for me, to exchange opinions and learn something.
      I’m not saying that one is ‘better’ than the other, or more ‘useful’, just that at present, in my view, art is much less interesting/relevant to most people. I hate that it should be so. I really do.
      Thanks for your comment.

  3. I saw this picture floating around facebook a little while ago and I bit my tongue because while everyone on the post was blabbing about how this was the “saddest thing ever” and Bush, etc… I had smiled. When I saw this photo, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d seen in a long time, (probably since the first 8 minutes of UP) not because of the despair, but because of the courageousness and inventiveness of the boy. I thought that for how little he has, he kept the best thing of all, an imagination. I felt more attached to him than I do with most of the flesh I interact with daily. It’s these, smallest of gestures that mean the most in a place of despair. I think that’s what is so inspiring to me. It’s the beauty in despair that I want to share with the world more than anything else, and this is more beautiful than anything I could dream up.

    “A solace and a provocation” I really like that.

    • Spot on, Andrew. Couldn’t agree more. Yes, of course it’s sad, but it’s also testament to everything that’s best about us – courage, tenacity, creativity, hope.
      Thank you.

  4. Pingback: on why you’re an art lover | simply marvelous

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