Botero’s Abu Ghraib Paintings

Botero, Abu Ghraib 67, 2005I missed seeing Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib paintings when they were in New York last year, and just learned about them in the current issue of GQ Magazine (sorry, there is not an article on their own site about this; how odd). Wow, they are strong. Amazing how the pain in the normally playful figures central to his work is depicted, and after reading about the struggles he had early in life in the violent Colombia of his youth, I can see how the depiction of the prisoners in the Iraqi prision moved him to represent this through his art. The juxtaposition of his style and this subject matter is disturbing, just as are the photos of the soldiers humiliating the prisoners themselves. I find it interesting that the painter has chosen not to sell any of the fifty or so works in this set; quite telling of how he views torture and those who profit through it.

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