Friday, May 15, 2009


Media:   Woodcut
Size:        16" x 24"
Paper:    Rice paper
Date:      1964c
Proof      1

The tragedy of the Vietnam War created what became a famous generation of photojournalists covering the war.  

Sadly, Dutch photojournalist, Hugh Van Es, 67, died this morning, May 15, 2009, where he lived in Hong Kong with his wife.  His pictures, and many like his, particularly those of villagers coldly termed 'collateral damage' by the military, inspired me to recreate the helpless plight of the devastated families, as in REFUGEES.  

Ambiguously, Liberty's flame in this one, the shape of Vietnam, refers to Agent Orange, a defoliation agent then being used by the military to destroy forests, spraying the enemy, the innocent, and military alike -  a deadly dioxin that resulted in terrible birth defects,  life long injuries and deformities.    The cross within it, a nod to the many sacrifices made in this war.


  1. I feel your work is even more valid today. I glimpsed one of the dreadful 'torture' photos on line today and I couldn't bear it! But I see, in your artwork, rightly or wrongly, the Statue of Liberty being knocked askew, with an eternal flame flowing downward instead of toward the sky.

  2. It is ambiguous. As I recall, it was a reference to the horrific agent orange that was being used, and the shape is of the country itself.
    There is also a cross within that shape, perhaps suggesting the sacrifices made by all involved.

  3. Re-looking I think the flame is curling back on the statue! Even more valid! The flag colours are muted too, which I like. Come on, Obama! Put some colour back into the flag, and raise the torch high again! (I sound quite political!)

  4. I hadn't heard of the photojournalist but on the basis of what you mentioned and that amazing and very thought provoking artwork of yours I'm keen to explore his work now.

  5. The interaction of art and politics is complex and fascinating.
    This is a very powerful piece.
    I do think it's important to use art to make people aware of world events.
    It has a long history too.

  6. I think that Liberty's torch has not only become Vietnam but a flame thrower.

    Thanks for the nice comments over at my site. I'm going to look up Morandi right now.