Washroom block 11
September 29th 2006-09-30
I first came across a photograph of this image in an article in the Buddhist Art magazine Urthona at the Manchester Buddhist centre and was struck straight away by the human way in which the curtain had been hung on the window. Whether the reason for hanging it had been to create a private space for the condemned people to undress in or had in fact been hung at the window to prevent them having a view of other prisoners being shot I do not know. But for me, what is plain to see is that someone had thought about someone else’s reaction to the situation concerning the room.
The act of hanging a curtain appears to me to be somewhat similar to the action of taking off and folding carefully the cloths that the condemned had left on the sink before they were taken out to be shot, these human actions that involve our privacy the curtains the cloths convey an intimacy with a moment in a persons life that we all share in our basic need for clothing, food and shelter.
As someone who grew up under the shadow of the 2nd world war war in the 1950's and witnessed the development of the Israel State I have always retained some sense of a European social guilt and personal betrayal that the politics of the western world caused such human misery and still continues to do so in other parts of the world. Why? Because as Winton Higgins says in his article that accompanied his photographs in Urthona that "we tend to view evil in the West as something outside of the self, it comes I think from the religious perspective of a devil who exists to get us to hell, well the evil is within our own minds," in Buddha Dharma we call these inner devils Maras. How do we change the way the western politics work? well its our own minds we need to work on a sense that it is we and not some external force that creates such travesty.
I've reworked an image based on the original but have changed the mood by working in deep reds and golds so as to create a space or sense of bardo that the condemned person may have preferred if we can indeed have a preference in our last journey in this body, the gold to symbolise the pure land that may lie beyond, interestingly as i reworked the sky a face kept appearing as did a face in the blanket.
work is acrylic on canvas 91x61x35mm price £1250. sold