Shakespeare Art Series
To Be Or Not To Be…In Iraq
Oil on Canvas, 36” x 36” (2007)
The American Foreign Policy under the Bush Administration on Iraq hadrevealed that ‘Something’s Rotten’ in the state of Bagdad. But as a modern day revenge tragedy, Hamlet would assert: “Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t.”
Hamlet is the ultimate revenge tragedy, in which the prince of Denmark avenges his uncle for killing his father. Under the pretense of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Bush Administration- led invasion to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein is a revenge tragedy in its own respect.
Imagery: “The painting interprets the Bush Administration’s Iraq occupation using the plot & characters of Hamlet.” The Hamlet figure ponders over the destroyed golden dome of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, with a minaret of an Ink stained finger from the first Iraqi democratic election.
In a soldier’s dog tag is inscribed the full soliloquy of “To Be or Not to Be…” (in Iraq? Perhaps.) The lady doth protest too: Condelzea Rice misaligned too quickly, like Hamlet’s mother Queen Gertrude. A tortured Abu Garib Detainee parallels an insane Ophelia, before she drowns in a pond (of oil) Like Hamlet’s spying friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the Sunnis & Shiites are filled with mistrust for the US
Theme: Revenge is filled with inactivity, in both premeditation and after-the-fact hesitations, and leads to tragedy.