Art on show in Brighton & Hove and Sussex
07 July 2021 – A portrait of Julian Assange being targeted for his journalistic work, is on show at London’s prestigious Mall Galleries online exhibition, Figurative Art Now (FAN), which opened today.
The inclusion of this artwork is remarkable because the mainstream media in the West has blocked all news about Julian Assange from newspapers, television and social media. The UN’s legal assessment that Assange’s treatment in the UK legal system amounts to torture. So the inclusion of a portrait of Assange in an art show hosted by a bastion of the British establishment is unexpected. The portrait, by Brighton artist Raphael Delamer, is a drawing of Assange with a target over his eye, amidst the words and images of the stories he uncovered – torture, killing, pleas for truth and justice. See end of story for link to artwork.
Is the selection of this artwork a sign that the establishment itself is uncomfortable with the media silence about Assange’s continued detention without trial? Or is this a case of protest being assimilated by capitalism, and rendered harmless by commercialisation? Is the establishment containing protest by incorporating it into the dominant culture, so long as it does not threaten the established order. “Look, we are a democracy, see, here is protest art.” The elite can rest happy that censorship does not exist in our culture – so long as dissent remains in the cultured classes, and does not reach the masses through the mainstream press. But maybe it’s worse than that. Maybe the establishment wants us to see that they can do anything. Effectively they can torture with impunity, so that we all fear the consequences of dissent, of speaking out.
Most people don’t even know Assange exists, let alone that he is the world’s most significant political prisoner – held without charges in the UK, supposedly the mother of democracy. Alongside the UK’s growing military adventurism and increasingly repressive legislation, this show trial and torture by legal process are extremely worrying developments.
Assange is being held in solitary confinement at the UK’s high security Belmarsh prison near London. He has been held in solitary confinement for over two years, with little access to lawyers or family.
There are no charges against Assange in the UK. He is being held because the USA is angered by the leaks of their war crimes in Iraq (killing of journalists etc), Abu Ghraib torture facility, Guantanamo Bay, etc.
Assange is accused of “inciting” people to leak military secrets, and then publishing them. So he was accused by US authorities, at first of hacking, and possibly of espionage, which could carry the death penalty. But the evidence is flimsy, and he has the perfect defence – these revelations of the truth are in the public interest. We need to know if our soldiers of democracy are torturing people in Iraq or Thailand or the Caribbean, we need to know our helicopter gunships are gunning down journalists and children in Iraq. Don’t we?
This is not the case for a detailed critique about the Assange case. But it is worth mentioning in brief: The US has said Assange’s leaks put peoples lives in danger. But Assange took extraordinary care to remove sensitive information from the leaks, and the US has been unable to identify a single person who has suffered from the leaks. Many people know Assange was accused of rape, in Sweden, by women he met while on a workshop there. These charges have been dropped. For details, please research using Google or see @craigmurrayorg or @caitoz or @DEAcampaign or @StellaMoris1 (twitter handles).
Assange is being held without charges in an extraordinary a show trial designed to demonstrate to the public that the authorities can do what they want to their enemies: that they are above the law. The UN has called his treatment “torture”. It amounts to torture by legal process. Everyone can see this cruel and unjust, and against the spirit of of freedom of speech and democracy. And everyone can see this is the consequence of defying the power of the established social order of the West.
The link to view the artwork “Year of the Mask” is below – https://www.mallgalleries.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions/figurative-art-now/year-mask-edition-5-1-available
The artist, Raphael Delamer, has this month also released a novel of speculative fiction about these dystopian times we live in, where the truth is distorted by those in power and the means become the end. The novel is a wild ride through end-times capitalism, the ideology of complicity, never ending war, colonisation of space, alien invasions and all the other conspiracy theories. Only they’re not theories anymore, are they? To take a look at this novel please take a look at this link: https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/raphael-delamer/air-conditioning/paperback/product-4jrdvy.html?page=1&pageSize=4
Artist’s website: https://raphaeldelamer.wordpress.com/