I was reading this article just now. It make me wonder about how many artists have been murdered because their art speaks in ways or of things that others disapprove. I then Googled “murdered artists 2015” but did not get the results I expected. Most of the results were USA based and focussed rappers whereas I was thinking of artists murdered or imprisoned by Governments wanting to oppress dissent.
So I changes the term and searched for “oppressed artists 2015” and this threw up mostly results documenting middle eastern oppression.
I then searched for “executed artists 2015” and this resulted in a greater mix with Indonesia, North Korea and Palestine standing out.
Art and politics can never be separated. The way we choose to represent things supports one set of perspectives over another and so is a political act.
Just think about Christ in the House of his Parents by Milliais. There is a great explanation of how this image came to challenge the conventions and values of the time here. Nowadays the diversity of imagery and religion means that his painting looks anything but controversial. You have to go to something like Marcus Harvey’s Myra to get a strong reaction.
Maybe these examples suggest just how liberal and open we have become in the UK. I prefer to live freely and be insulted by what I see and hear now and again than live somewhere where I have to watch what I say, write, photograph and create.
Here is my appropriated version of Millias’ work – enjoy.