‘Digging‘, Oil on Canvas, 2011
‘Disaster I‘, Oil on Canvas, 2011
‘Disaster II‘, Oil on Canvas, 2011
Manifest for Disaster Series
I am working on a series of paintings of the people who have been checked and studied for radioactive contamination.
These are the people who lived in the location of the nuclear plant when the disaster happened. The first painting is called “The Future” which in painting a young boy, 4 to 5 years old being examined by a man dressed completely in white protective gear. The other 2 paintings are of two women also being examined a fully covered person called Still1 and Still 2. I am interested in subjects like this because they serve as evidence of how inter relations, communication between people can be so complex. For example with these paintings the boy in the first painting must be scared and the women second seems so careful and tense. I was devastated when I saw the disaster in Japan on TV and felt really sorry for people who had suffered. Then nuclear disaster appeared and then my feeling turned into anger as it is a human made disaster. As I remember from Chernobil nuclear disaster happen close Turkey which is my home country how large area and long time can radioactivity contaminated. All area with its plans, animals and even the soil is contaminated so human. The first image I have seen on the TV about the disaster in Japan made me remember my experience in Turkey in 1999. I was working, as volunteer doctor during disaster and it was one of the turning points in life for me. I feel like time does not exist until something stacking happen like father die in traffic accident suddenly or earthquake happen and makes life upside down and then when it is over everything seems going back normal with this memory. The image made me think about making a painting or video to show how things which very important turn into rubbish but at the same time wanted to create sorry for people who suffered. It looked like all the houses and buildings, cars, ships, in a rubbish-processing machine moving in wave. I first thought to paint a big painting includes all the images I have about disaster in a unbroken lines and forms in a very earthy surface inspired by Picasso’s Guarnica painting. Then I realise that there were two kind of disaster I was looking at. One was earthquake which was nature made and caused the nuclear disaster which is human mistake to build such a dangerous resource for energy. I decided to focus on more nuclear part of the disaster as I had more feeling about it. Therefore I started to collect images about nuclear disaster. I came cross an image of a small boy, maybe 4-5 years old, holding his arms and being checked for radioactivity. I was really affected by his eyes, which shows the fear and his innocence. He is being checked by a completely masked protected, glowed handed men and mother is holding his arms. His body doesn’t want get close but the man who is pointing out a metal to him doesn’t want to come closer either. The man in protection pointing out a metal something from distance to the boy. The boy face shows fear, shock, confusion, vulnerability and innocent. He doesn’t know what is going on there, why he is being checked by a stranger. A man who has strange dress and mask on but this mask doesn’t look like his toy one and he doesn’t like performing some game. Something is different. His mask is plane white and has no funny things on it. He has cover on his head too. Why he has all this strange dress? He has soft blue glows and holding metal something to him. He is asking himself that” What it is…why he is doing this…what I have done!!!!!! Why he is not getting close to me while the other adults only knee like this to hug me. Thank god my mum with me otherwise I will escape. This is not a game something different. What? Why???? I made a painting the boy holding his arms like defeating sign after war. He is on right side holding his arms in fear and a white clouted arm from opposite side holding something with glowed hand to him. It seems like some one defeated because somebody who has gun and holding to him. It kind of remind me of Goya’s painting of 3th of May and Manetand Manet painting of Execution of Emperor. I almost read it as “Future is defeated”. There might not be a long future for this boy if his cells has contaminated with radioactivity. He did nothing to deserve this as he even didn’t consumed as much as I did and use energy to create need for such a dangerous energy source to exist. As looking at the images I already get terrorized myself with fear and unknown like this boy. It is almost spelling some mystical worlds like gas over the area. Do I have radioactivity in my body? Of course certain amount we have been exposed as consequences of leaving in modern society. What doest it to my body? What doest it do to animals leaving there? What happen to plants, soil, air, sea…..????? “We are just experimenting we will see the result after using it “. That is the human civilization mentality. Then I started to look at the image which a women is testing in a (most probably tent as it is in disaster area) tent lighted with ultraviolet light which is creates yellow, green atmosphere in the air and on the people. She is bending over and someone is holding her feet with glowed hand who doesn’t seems real. Her gesture in the tent reminds me of Rembrandt’s painting of “Women in the River”. This is the reason I figure out that the image in the middle was female as she has this soft, indecisive gesture of stepping. They both don’t know where there are stepping on. She has been checked by 3 people but because of their custom being completely white they diapered in light and only leave this glossy trace behind them. And the second women or maybe the same one is checking in this tent and she bends and holds her arms like the boy. The face is down and she seems like leave her body to this unknown all covered protected men in a completely passive manner. I made 2 60 by 72 inches painting of these two women. They work together like a film screen and the same women tent doing different gesture as her different body parts has been checked. I am always interested in relation between nature and human. It seems to me that as civilization has developed (in a positivist way) and industrialized, we lost our contact and harmony with nature. We try to protect us from it as we didn’t have enough protection at the beginning and then we start feeling it as a enemy an developed planed to defeat it. Our desire to defeated the nature create a utopia which is a self-sufficient then nature. The world geographical and political history is complete unrest and full of violent. I remember in high school when I was studying history I was imagining the past is as leaving in war or protecting yourself from it. I actually realize that it is still the same. You have to have enemy to almost for your existence. On the earth everyday somewhere people suffering because of war or disaster. As we try to defeat the nature he answers back and shows her power. and all the habitants has to pay for this. As we start fighting against we start experimenting with our human perception( which I believe can always make mistake). Wonder and will to create can be promising but at the some times can be blinding. Atom bomb, nuclear energy, genetily modified food all is promising self-sufficient world utopia. Yes you create but dropped into the nature as you are leaving in it so what nature is going to deal with something you create at the laboratory which most of them going the leave forever or change ecosystem and as form takes space in nature. Demet Taspinar