|A Gannet's Stomach is Never Full|
Acrylic on canvas 73 x 55cm
I have just completed a new painting of which this blog has the same title. It is the head of a gannet placed upon the tux wearing torso of a Bullingdon Club member.
One of the main questions in my mind during the construction of the idea and carrying out the painting was 'how much is enough?'. Something I have stated previously in relation to some of my artwork is I am not against wealth. I am not at all opposed to people who know how to generate and make money, who can actually use their skills and their understanding of how money works, to make more of it. But money is a huge responsibility and it takes strong shoulders to carry the 'burden' and use it properly and positively, and without greed. I do feel it's what you do with your money that counts. Where this thought becomes entwined with current politics is that I like many many others also feel that our government seems determined to be as cheapskate as possible with people who have the least whilst creating more and more wealth for the already wealthy...and that is from the nature of greed.
Now it would be very unfair of me to suggest that anyone who is or has been in the Bullingdon Club is a gannet, and that certainly isn't the purpose of this painting. The Bullingdon tux is being used as a reference to the privileged roots of many of the politicians currently running our country, with London's mayor Boris Johnson and our Prime Minister David Cameron themselves members once upon a time.
As cuts are being made to the NHS, the police, the fire service, the arts sector, privatisation causing huge costs to the consumer with energy bills and travel, the whole pastygate affair and now even a hike in alcohol prices to try and 'deter' heavy drinkers (by this they must simply mean 'heavy drinkers without money' as heavy drinking will still be affordable for the well off by this new ruling) I have often read these headlines and had visions of politicians as gannets swirling over the everyday people, swooping down and grabbing at anything they can get their hands on, while they get fatter the rest of the country have to make do with less.
One thing I feel sure we should be proud of is that, although we may not have had it perfecty figured out, here in the UK we were a society which had built itself up to be one that looked after each other with the welfare state and the NHS. Even if we were still making mistakes and working out how to make it even more 'fair' I believe it is a model that we should protect and use to inspire other areas of the world which arent quite so keen to look after each other. I want to be from a country that will lead the way in providing support those with less and wont buldoze the least well off people into carrying the more well off through times of turbulence.