Sometimes you can think that in art, and even more so in current art, everything is banality, aesthetics and spectacle. However, as has always happened, there are also artists who are very committed to their time, and do not hesitate to use their creations as a means of denouncing or disseminating certain unfair or dramatic situations in the world. We've already seen examples here, such as the large image of Kikito of JR next to the long wall that marks the border between United States andMexico.
Mickey Mouse in front of John Keane
So today we want to talk to you about the English painter John Keane (1954 –) who has spent several decades denouncing many of the world's war conflicts. In fact, on many occasions she has been called a war artist, in parallel to war photographers who travel wherever there is fighting.
Something that started in 1991, when Keane received a very special commission from the Imperial War Museum in London. The assignment was to portray from a British point of view what is known as the First Gulf War between the United States and Iraq, a short war known by the Americans as Desert Storm.
It was on that occasion that Keane made the series Gulf, to which this work of Mickey Mouse on the front belongs. The Serieis full of black and very acid humor, all based on figurative forms that at times become terrifying and abstract.
Undoubtedly this painting of the famous mouse from Disney on a beach in Kuwait, on the shores of the Persian Gulfcaptures all the tearing of the situation. We see the cartoon character next to a bombed-out palm tree and next to a grocery cart filled with rockets. On the beach you can see excrement, the Kuwaiti flag on the ground and in the background the seafront like luxury hotels.
A very harsh image and certainly very critical. It is true that Keane before then had already shown himself to be an artist of his time, especially making portraits of key figures in conflicts such as the terrorism ofNorthern Ireland. But it would be after the commission of theGulf Warwhen he accentuated his passion for these themes.
Since then he has traveled to trouble spots inCentral America,Middle EastorRwanda, in addition to collaborating with different NGOs. And he has always left us images of enormous visual power, in which after the aesthetic shock he invites us to reflect on how beastly the human being can be, and the hypocrisy in which we wrap all those tragedies.