LOW HANGING FRUIT

2011, Oil on Linen, Combined size 90 x 91.4cm

Finalist - Sulman Prize 2012

The economics of warfare determines it is better to maim than kill. It takes one person a few hours to bury another. But to rehabilitate the maimed consumes “enemy” resources; money; hospital beds; medical staff; time - and a prosthetic limb. At the end of which, victims are seldom capable of operating at full capacity.

The cluster bomb “refines” this theory. Containing hundreds of smaller bombs, the detonation failure rate is between 5 and 25%. Deliberately. For this scatters thousands of unexploded ordnance over vast areas. Usually camouflaged for concealment, there are variations fashioned to resemble canned food, while others are strangely shaped and colourful, so as to attract children.

These are the low hanging fruit. For they are the easy pickings. They are the naïve. The curious. The innocent.

Resplendent in full bloom, cherry blossoms seldom last more than a week and are easily swept away in strong wind. Representing purity, fleeting beauty and transience, the blossom icon was embraced by the Samurai (for whom there was no greater glory than to die on the battle) and engraved onto swords. The Kamikaze painted the icon onto their aeroplane fuselages. Here however, the icon is ironic - as there can be no glory found in maiming the innocent.