One Night in Baghdad

Mixed Media
H96" x W66"

"It was just like Christmas!" - Statement made by a smiling U.S. pilot after the first bombing of Baghdad during Desert Storm.

Lower Baghdad (front)

From a starry and moonlit but cloudy sky emerges the unfettered and monstrous Cruise Missile adorned with colours and icons of the American flag. Below it are the remains of buildings and the rubble of the city infrastructure. There is still some water; blue and the vestige of vegetation (sustenance), green. But the blood and flames of death and suffering, red, flows freely. Oil, black, spews from the destruction. Yellow, the augmenting human offal, oozes not only from the mess, but also, from the surviving areas of the city and neatly protected palace. The starbursts and bullet traces show the inferior and archaic defense, which lights up the open sky 'like Christmas'.

Upper Baghdad (back)

The same scene in the sky is witnessed from a distance by adjacent and global neighbours. The damage is sanitized. The lower panels represent in random, outlines the national colours of countries involved. The two blue stripes in the centre panels are the lifeblood of the desert, the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. This screen is the second in the 'present' series of pieces. It seems that the answer to anything, be it a person, people or country, good or evil, who resists the mindless pursuit of power by control of consumption is to wildly smash at the resistance using weapons and poisons. Here we have the exaggerated analogy of swatting a fly with a sledgehammer. The action is organized by the most powerful, technological arms dealer and commanded by the world's past top spy while making a profit by clearing the ware houses of old arms (carpet bombing), testing updated technology (cruise and patriot missiles) and finding away to 'recycle' or dump deadly waste (depleted uranium). And though whole process was designed to make a profit by making the allies pay. "We are used to a certain style of living," was the statement by the leader prior to the bombing. Who are 'we'? Which 'style'? Who's ' living'? The flux of the golden ratio inherent in nature is shifting to cause a terminal imbalance. The practice is to create a market for new arms, which renders the immediate past products ineffectual. But, always in the plan is the byproduct of the collateral damage of the functioning innocent. This is bad Kharma, indeed!

Again the artist uses reclaimed and recycled materials for the structure. But the depiction of destructive technology necessitates the inclusion of store bought products. The artist's discipline of reuse and recycling is decaying, causing a fatter footprint.

Peter Cooke * 1233 Mount Maxwell Road * Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2H7 * (250) 537-4617

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