Guernica Adaptation

We were asked in our manifesto groups to produce a piece of work by adapting the Guernica painting by Picasso to represent our declaration of intentions within our Sustainability manifesto.

As a group we were able to come up with our concept by drawing a quick sketch of how we wanted the painting to turn out.

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From this we gave each other different parts to complete and then bring it altogether at the end before it being presented to our peers and lecturers. Below is a progress photo, after painting part of the background and placing the different aspects on top. Looked really good and was coming together nicely.

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This is our final piece displayed in the studio……img_2117

We wanted to highlight the destruction of the environment caused by over consumerism and the fat cats of consumerism. I think that we managed to show this well with our overall composition of the piece, aswell as taking inspiration from Picasso’s Guernica. The feed back that we received was positive, what I took from it was that maybe more emphasis was on the kind of rubbish that we are throwing out, making the viewer more aware to the types of things that they are throwing way willy nilly.

The photos above are the final pieces from others groups on the course. All of them I think are well thought-out and show the diversity that has come from being inspired from the original Guernica painting. I enjoyed this project, it was nice working with my hands to produce a piece along with working collaboratively with others, each of us contributing our individual skills.

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Protest Artists

Over the years more and more artists have used there influence within their discipline to produce pieces of protest art. From recently looking more into the political painting Guernica by Picasso, I started to understand the power of these pieces, and how they could be seen a leverage to a particular cause, or view point. From the likes of Banksy to groups like Pussy Riot or the Guerrilla Girls, they all have a clear message which they put across, using a different mediums to get their voices heard.

One group called Adbusters,  of which I really engage with their pieces, they are clever adaptations of existing companies. Their message to the world is to stop unnecessary consumerism. They have held many protests over the years, they state that “Adbusters is a not-for-profit magazine fighting back against the hostile takeover of our psychological, physical and cultural environments by commercial forces.” I find their work effective. Does make you stop and think.

 

More of their work can be found at https://www.adbusters.org/campaigns/

On the opposite end of the scale Pyotr Pavlensky is a ‘Living Pain’ Artist from Russia, his work is very in your face and often quite disturbing. It makes me cringe looking at some of the photos of his work, all of which has had plenty of media coverage. He has broken the mould of political art, taking it to a whole new level.

A lot of his work relates to freedom of speech surrounding Russian policies within the government. He is now facing three years in prison for burning doors of the headquarters of Russian Federal Security. He blurs the boundaries between art and his anti-Kremlin views, he sets himself apart from other similar artists by making weakness central to his work.

JR – Face2Face project in Gaza from 2007, is an illegal photography exhibition put up in the streets of conflict around the city. Produced by two french street artists JR and Marco, they placed portraits of Israelis and Palestine people in large formats. The portraits are somewhat humorous, trying to show the humanity of each person even though they were on different political sides. They try to bridge the separation between their religion and nationality. I really like the organic feel of these photographic portraits.

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Such a lovely idea, that gave the conflict in Gaza a more human feel to it.

With the rise of more and more protests going on around the world, the protest billboards have become piece of art themselves. They are such simple pieces of work, adorning the protestor’s gripe with the current situation. With the most recent demonstrations against the Trump administration, which have been broadcast around the world, have made quite an impact. The two below are two photos that I took from Facebook this week.

The two links below are articles which I found really interesting, taken from the online  magazine Creative Review. Particularly John Comino-James photography which documents protest which have happened over the past ten years. There are some really great images within the article, highlighting the impact of these protests which have taken place in the UK.  https://www.creativereview.co.uk/emergency-guide-writing-protest-signs/     https://www.creativereview.co.uk/john-comino-james-photography/  The thing I think that I find particularly engaging  and effective about the protest boards is that they are so quickly made without much thought to how its is going to look, but thinking about what the message is that they want to get across. tumblr_nyn16elets1s9t9owo1_500

There is so many artist that I could write about but the ones above are the ones that particularly stood out to myself when I was researching. You could say that all art is political, as the art is usually the artist reaction to something that they feel passionate about. They can serve as powerful political weapons, have become a potent language to speak against various forms of oppression and persisting inequalities regarding gender, race or class.

Pat Murphy

Pat Murphy was a volunteer for the Spanish civil war. From his story we were given a brief to create a collaborative body of work in response to text that was provided.

Pat Murphy was one of the first Spanish civil war volunteers to go to Spain to fight against the facist regime. Born in Cardiff in 1897 to the first generation Irish immigrant.  He served in the first world war, and had gained some experience in a war zone. He was outraged by the Pro Franco propaganda, he enlisted at the Cardiff recruitment office for international brigades. He suffered two major injuries during the war, laying him up both times for a few months, but his anarchist convictions kept him going to. He left Cardiff early December 1936 in the midlle the night, unexplained to his wife due to secrecy, and boarded a ship bound for Albacet, Spain to become an anti Fascist fighter with The International Brigade. Having an Irish background Pat ended up fighting with several Irish comrades and regarding his self as fighting for the Irish contingent, he had very similar outlook on politics the Irish volunteers. He was as an “indomitable warrior remaining true to his anarchist convictions.” Fearless in battle, which had very high casualties, he only just survived the war. Unfortunately, he had to be sent home invalided, much to his disappointment, I would have thought. However he still supported his comrades in Spain by sending then letters of encouragement and cigarette supplies.

I wanted to find more out about Pat Murphy. At first I could find anything on Patrick Murphy. I started to question whether or not his first name was actually Patrick. However from further research into the Civil registration, which is records of births, deaths and marriages. I came across a Patrick Keenan Murphy, the dates match up with his birth and death, and also was registered in South Glamorgan.

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From extensive research, there was not much else that I could find about Pat as a person in reference to the Spanish Civil war. But I did come across some interesting letters spent from other Irish volunteers during the Spanish Civil war. I particular like this exert from a letter written by Padraig de Stannligh to his father

“I came here to fight not only for the Spanish people but for the workers of the world against Fascism, not forgetting O’Duffy and his crowd. If the fascists by any miracle win it would mean first the death knell of democracy throughout the world and the finish of Irish nationalism. That’s why I came over here, because I understood this from the very beginning. In a few month’s time we shall be writing Robert Emmet’s epitaph: ‘When my country takes its rightful place among the nations of the earth, then and not till then let my epitaph be written.’ (Emmet) If James Connolly was alive today and saw what was going on throughout the world, especially in Spain, what would he do? He’d unite all those good Irish fighters, all of them, and he’d shove the fascists into the sea wherever he found them. We’ll do that. And if any of them wash ashore in Dublin Bay let them [know] that no murderers of women and children have a place in the fair land of Eirinn.

The morale of the people here, even to the smallest children, is of the highest. The people smile and welcome you, greet us as their deliverer, and even cry about you when you leave. That is not the way they treat the fascists, and that’s why Franco and his cutthroats will never conquer Spain, nor O’Duffy Ireland. You read in the ‘Irish Independent’ what the Spanish Government is supposed to be doing. But what about Franco and his German and Italian hired assassins and conscripted ‘volunteers’, who are afraid to meet soldiers in the field and sneak behind the lines in their aeroplanes, killing women and children, innocent all of them. This I have seen with my own eyes. We can’t lose, we won’t lose, and when your Pattie comes marching home again he’ll have stories to tell that will put the lie to the things that have been told to the people at home by papers owned by Irish capitalists, fascist liars.”

I think that it shows the political view point that Murphy was fighting for aswell.

After researching we met as a group to discuss what we wanted to produce as a piece together. We came up with an initial concept pretty quickly, we thought that by creating a body of work which encapsulated his initial reasons for joining as a volunteer was a strong way to proceed. Below is a mind map of what we needed create to put into a suitcase which Pat would have possible taken with him. I was going to make his passport and a newspaper article which might have inspired him to go and fight against the fascists. img_3882d650ec3b-1

 

Guernica – Picasso

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This painting by Pablo Picasso named Guernica and is probably his most powerful political piece of work that has been created. The events that surrounded the Basque town of  Guernica devastated by the bombing of the Nazi’s during the Spanish Civil War inspired Picasso to paint this picture. The bombing destroyed 3/4 of Guernica, it was a deliberate act of destruction toward the Spanish civilians to see how it effected moral. The destruction of Guernica was one of the catalysts for the 2nd world war, which erupted a couple of years later.

The painting was to be exhibited for Spanish pavilion at the World Fair, Parisian Exhibition which was held in the summer of 1937,  and commissioned by the Spanish Republican government. It had some mixed reviews from its first exhibition and Hitler  was opposed to any of his citizens to view it. However over the years it became a political symbol of War and was exhibited around the world for many years raising awareness for the Spanish hardship over the Civil War.

It offers a visual account of the impact and chaos that was inflicted on Guernica. With the many female figures throughout the painting showing death and pain, in particular the woman holding what seems to be her dead child on the left hand side of the painting. The poignant and chaotic depiction of the bombing is somewhat disturbing to myself. With the lack of colour, it is very morbid, as the narrative suggested that the it should be. With the predominant colour of black, perhaps representing death its self.  There is a light at the top of the picture which possibly shows the moment of the explosions.

This piece of work by Picasso is a example of the power of art, particularly within the political arena. As shown below, its has been adapted for the Israeli war over the Gaza strip. It is highly reverent of its cultural significance, and the tragedy of modern war.

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Below are a few adaptations that I found by an artist Ron English he states that Guernica is a modern template for himself. He translates the in comprehensive tragedy of Guernica into a cartoon narrative, and believes that it is more easily absorbed, as it is part of the human process to distance ourselves from overwhelming emotions.

 

Field – Manifesto

Within field we are given the opportunity to engage with other students from different disciplines to gain a perspective of how and different creative practices might help and with our own subject field. We were teaming up with illustration and animation as these are the subjects that we might work mostly with within the creative industry.

During our first session with field we were split up into groups which had the same vision for worries that we have in the world. My group was particularly interested in the environment, so we set about to write a manifesto to help with our pledge to save the planet.

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From this manifesto we were asked to make a pop up illustration depicting our views and ideas.

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We produced the pop up illustration above. The workshop was a nice change as we were working with our hands, as opposed to working digitally as we mainly do within our own discipline. The outcome was effective, and I think that we were able to get across our message for a sustainable future is all our responsibility.

Above are a few of the pop up illustrations that were created by other groups in our workshop. I particularly like the pop up which pledges for animal welfare.

Spanish Civil War

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“The war was a civil war and a revolution. It could not finish until the country had been transformed either into a Fascist or into a socialist state.” -Arturo Barea

The Spanish civil war – 1936 – 1939,  was a savage civil uprise, one of the worst conflicts that Europe up to that point had ever seen. It was a battle between democracy and Fascism. On July 17th 1936 the military officers rebelled against the government of the Spanish republic. Political opponents became the enemy and were hunted down and killed.

After the fall of the monarchy in 1931 the republic government was welcomed and rejoiced by the country and its civilians. They had broken through to the modern. The monarchy was thought to be an oppressive system, which felt like they were living in a tightly repressed society. There was a feeling a freedom for society when the republic came into power. The workers had great hope for their future, with the promise of fair pay, union rights, land reform. The republic was the revolution that the country needed.

This feeling of hope and freedom soon turned sour….just a month after the proclamation of the republic, a sharp divide was apparent within the Country. Many areas of the country wanted to have their own government and wanted independence from the rest of Spain. Aswell as the landowners and the workers having many disputes. Pretty soon violence erupted, churches and convents were burnt by mobs and rioters. Spain was quite literally ready to explode and the final spark that lit the fuse of war was the assassination of the right wing leader, Calvo Sotelo, in July 1936.

The War was an horrific with a considerable amount of life lost, it claimed over half a million people, from both Spain and abroad. Lots of others countries became involved in the war due to it being about left and right wing polices. It was seen as political lever to their own countries political views.

There are memorials all over the world for the many men that fought in the Spanish Civil War. Here is one that is in Cardiff city centre next to the museum for the Welsh volunteers that contributed. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA