Remarkable and Curious Conversations

Curated by Cally Trench

Joan Skelton Smith
Papel Picado

R&CC: The ArtistsR&CC: The Interactions

Joan Skelton Smith asked for political images from other Remarkable and Curious Conversations artists, and received suggestions from Carol Coates, Alison Carter Tai, Cally Trench, and Tineke Bruijnzeels. She produced three new paper cut-outs based on these photos, which form part of an ongoing series. These cut-outs serve as templates for tissue paper banners in the style of Mexican Papel Picado banners. This series operates as both history painting and social political commentary.

Mladic by Joan Skelton Smith

Joan Skelton Smith, Mladic (2011)
Cut paper template, 35 x 53.5 cm
based on photo suggested by Cally Trench

Cally Trench wrote of Sixteen years on Mladic in court: I attach a scan of a newspaper photo that really caught my eye. It was on the front page of the Guardian on Saturday (4th June).

CROSSFIRE, Muhammed al-Durrah by Joan Skelton Smith

Joan Skelton Smith, CROSSFIRE
Muhammed al-Durrah
Cut paper template, 35 x 53.5 cm
based on photo suggested by Carol Coates

OILSPILL, BP Tate by Joan Skelton Smith

Joan Skelton Smith, OILSPILL, BP Tate (2011)
Cut paper template, 35 x 53.5 cm
based on photo suggested by Carol Coates
and Alison Carter Tai

Carol Coates: I sent some images that have stuck in my mind of political stories. The man shielding his son from gunfire during the Palestinian conflict is a memorable image. I also think the tearing down of iconic images or statues of disgraced dictators always sends a powerful message and the large billboard of Mubarak half destroyed sticks in the mind. Also the image of the Lockerbie bomber on the steps of the plane after release fills me with disgust, and I've included an image of three members of the board of BP taking the oath at the State Senate.

Alison Carter Tai: There's an image I tore out of the Telegraph for April 21, 2011, "No oil painting: protesters pour a black liquid over an unclothed colleague in a demonstration against BP at Tate Britain yesterday". There are two figures, one male and one female, either side of the naked figure who is on the ground, curled up, hands over face, a bit like a Philip Lee, with stripes of oil running down the body and onto the floor. They have green oil cans, and wear black clothes and black veil cloths over their heads. It would work well as a cut out silhouette on a banner I think, maybe with the words Tate above to make it clear? I'll photograph the image from the paper and send shortly, if you don't know the image I mean...

When I was at junior school I remember the striking images of sea birds covered in oil after the Torrey Canyon disaster of March 1967, off Cornwall. I made a piece of art work then, aged 9, and remember feeling more outraged about that oil spill than I'd ever felt about anything before in my life.

Another possible for your political banner: I was going through my cuttings file and found I had kept an image from last year of Pakistani protesters burning a Cameron effigy August 1 2010 - it's the Islamist group Shabab-e-Milli. I've always been interested in Guy Fawkes guys and scarecrows and the making of effigies, right back to Elizabeth I - and all those Catholic Easter week processions in places like Sorrento and Marbella that I have witnessed - because of the clothes, of course!!! It was in Karachi on 31 July that the incident happened. Cameron had said in India that Pakistan was exporting terrorism, and the Pakistani protesters said he had a 'loose mouth' - reminiscent of the 'careless talk costs lives' WW2 slogan! The Pakistani ambassador to Britain said it was an immature comment from an immature politician.

PVVVVP by Joan Skelton Smith

Joan Skelton Smith, PVVVVP (2012)
Cut paper template, 35 x 53.5 cm
based on photo suggested by Tineke Bruijnzeels

Tineke Bruijnzeels writes of an image of Geert Wilders: I am not into politics, but one thing came to mind immediately. I left the Netherlands about twenty years ago. In these years 'my' country has changed and I have changed. In the past couple of years every time I go back there to visit family, I notice that the country, which used to be so tolerant, is not like that any more. The main sign for this has been the election of Geert Wilders and his right wing party PVV into Government. He symbolises the shift in the Netherlands. It goes against what I believe in very strongly: the only thing we need is to respect each other. I find the gesture of his hand symbolic.

Joan Skelton Smith
Alison Carter Tai
Carol Coates
Cally Trench
Tineke Bruijnzeels

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