Sunday, June 10, 2012

When You Mess With the Arts - Expect a Fight

A painting of Stephen Harper, called “Emperor Haute Couture”  has recently rocketed through the Canadian media.  The only thing that holds me back from publishing this picture as its seen (although no media picture I have seen has published it as it looks without the maple leaf), it's a matter of basic respect for his position as a father and as our Prime Minister that I refrain from doing so.  The artist is Margaret Sutherland and she was making the statement  that like Hans Christian Anderson's, Emperors New Clothes - our Prime Minister isn't whom he seems to be and that he isn't living up to his promises.

Margaret is a prominent portrait painter who has appeared on Bravo Television's series, Star Portraits.

One thing for certain, its stirred up a huge public debate. Click here to read some of the comments in Kingston's The

Judi McLeod of Canada Free Press writes, in her article, "The Nakedness of Politics Posing as Art".
Emperor Haute Couture, with its graphic male plumbing reached the pinnacle of publicity. The painting, for which Harper never posed, was “motivated” by the political frustration of Kingston, Ont. artist Margaret Sutherland.  Proof on canvas that everything about the left, from its staged protests to the art of frustration, is 100% manufactured.
Judi's complete article can be found by clicking here.  
There are many others that can be found on internet  now.  How about these.

                                                     The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

The representation of the PM as a Nazi was painted by Jamie Miller a contemporary realist artist.
If you wish to visit Jamie's site, to see this and other works, please click here.

Jamie writes about this work:
Naturally, different people tend to derive different meanings from art
that they encounter; A work of art can go beyond expressing the
artist's primary message and will often mean different things to
different viewers.
Ideally, an artist can anticipate various interpretations of a
particular work such that whatever meaning is derived, is at the very
least, not contrary to the artists primary objective.
All this to say that; I expect that my portrait, "The Right Honourable
Stephen Harper" will sometimes be interpreted as suggesting a
similarity between Harper and everybody's favourite fascist dictator,
however, my intended message/motivation is simply this:
Inevitably, perhaps often unavoidably(?), the foreign policy of any
large collective yields atrocious consequences. In the pursuit of
objective social criticism I endeavour to assume the perspective of
those who perceive themselves to be victims of our collective's
foreign policy. See ourselves through our (unintended) victims eyes.
I chose Harper as a symbol for myself, the average Canadian.
While article 2a of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms unrealistically
guarantees freedom of conscience; occasionally, inevitably, we as
taxpayers contribute to funding atrocities that violate the conscience
of virtually every single Canadian. In that it would be unrealistic to
imagine a large society that doesn't occasionally yield collateral
damage, its equally unrealistic for the Charter to suggest that
Canadians can enjoy freedom of conscience on more than a
sentimental/superficial level.
One might argue that the portrait "The Right Honourable Stephen
Harper" is an overly harsh portrayal of the average peaceful,
generous, Canadian. Certainly, however, there are some who have
suffered tragic loss courtesy of a Canadian bullet, or Canadian
policy, that would relate to the intended, or more obvious, message.
"As provocative prose require reading, words that cause us discomfort
are easily avoided or dismissed. A passing glance at an engaging work
of art can speak volumes with, or, without the consent of the viewer."

There is much more on the website called, Department of Culture; a you tube song, cartoons and a picture by artist Lily May, of the PM with a gourd on his head.

Lily writes on her site,

Since we're having an election soon, here's a portrait I painted a few years ago of Stephen Harper with an ornamental gourd on his head.  I did this as an antidote to the dire tone of his government.
Ezra's site called Media Arts/Political Stuff gives us a picture of our PM, with a Van Gogh twist - a portrait with a bandaged  ear. Please click here

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