March 27, 2011
A Brush With Saif Gaddafi
Before the Gaddafi’s elevated to Public Enemy No. 1, Saif Gaddafi and his artwork attracted fawning attention in Moscow in 2010, and before that, in England, in 2002, at the launch of the Libyan touring collection, “The Desert Is Not Silent.” (NatureStrikesBack has scans of Saif’s work from the original catalog. Foreign Policy just posted photos from the London opening. The body language of Saif and the guests in the FP photos are particularly amusing.)
The image above received more attention at the exhibition than any other which was not entirely fair because there were more interesting works. However, Gaddafi Senior looming over earthly proceedings from the sky is a guaranteed attention grabber. Painted in 2000, part of the catalogue text for this read:
Libya was as strong as a rock against which the arrogance of the neo-crusaders was broken. In this tragedy of the new world order the leader becomes the ‘unique eagle’.
Perusing the paintings, this (titled “The Challenge”) certainly is my favorite. But then, I’ve got some questions. In making a statement to the Christian infidels, is that Poppa casting the first stone? Where does Islam fit in? Also, I can’t help thinking that first cross-bearing figure seems a little Bansky-ish.