LAND OF THE FREE

2015, Oil on Italian Linen, 120 x 100cm

2016 Albany Art prize, Finalist
2015 Fisher's Ghost Art Prize, Finalist

The ebb and flow of Empires can be determined by the monuments they leave. Periods of optimism are punctuated by statues that mythologise the success of the enterprise. Times of tragedy are marked by similarly mythologised affirmations of resilience, bravery and triumph over the odds. In time, these myths come to define the events themselves.

Defence of these myths has been taken to new levels of absurdity in the US, where nationalism appears to have evolved into a type of paranoia. In New York, the apartments now occupying Wall Street’s former trading houses and banks are protected by barriers and armed guards, because the symbolism of the name is more potent than the mundane reality.

And the statues advertising the capitalist brand are also barricaded from their disciples; victims of a congregation so enraptured they have long since lost sight of the original beliefs.