those early days of hope

2016 Oil on Italian Linen 168x140cm

Revolutions and changes of power are kind of messy.

In a media-saturated world where a single image needs to define the moment, that doesn’t play out well. We need the tank crashing through the palace gates, the statue to topple. Because images of such moments encapsulate gradual and complicated events, simply.

But what happens when there is buyer’s remorse?

Kadhim Sharif al-Jabouri knows that feeling all too well. He toppled the Saddam Hussein statue in downtown Baghdad. Thirteen years on and with Iraq yet to emerge from the bloodbath the invasion precipitated, he says “I’d like to put it back up. To rebuild it. But I’m afraid I’d be killed.”

But let’s not dwell on reality. Let’s focus instead on those early days of hope, like the morning after Britain voted ‘Yes,’ and that moment after Nigel Farage gave his victory speech, but just before everyone seemed to look around to one another as if to say, What the fuck just happened?