Make Art About War

Last summer, discussing the new Bug record, London Zoo, an American friend remarked how many times he heard references to guns on the recording. “Its repeated so much, you’d think the record was made in the United States.” Indeed, the number of gun-related crimes in the UK pales in comparison to the US.

Though we can hear gunfire in our ‘hood (Brixton is considered Britain’s gun capital) most talk of violence in the UK news media has as of late either been in terms of reports of child abuse or stabbings. Nevertheless, certain icons, like this painting of an AK-47 on display in a Camden gallery, seem universal.

Given the current deployment of British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the prominence of such symbols, whether in the form of paintings, or in terms of musical references, makes a great deal of sense. Especially given how, this weekend, the country focused on the deaths of four soldiers killed in Afghanistan on Friday.

The fact that a thirteen-year-old suicide bomber was responsible for the deaths of three of these troops would be enough to make anyone want to paint a Kalashknikov, let alone one that appeared to be in the process of melting.