The painting above is based on the drawing from the beginning of 1978 below
What follows is the essay that accompanied this painting/drawing. The essay had undergone various revisions since it was first written in 1978. The version that appears below is the 1980 revision (with some amendments).
Perched precariously on a cliff-top remain the last vestiges of man's civilization -buildings symbolic of man's 'higher' intelligence, his ability to construct, to create - his material obsessions. In the immediate foreground are scattered the abandoned relics of his past - abandoned to the solitude and desolation of the dessert wilderness, to the extremities of nature, left to crumble under a scorching sun, ... Here the grass is beginning to reclaim what once belonged to nature, the statues sculpted from stone slowly being reintegrated from whence they were extracted.
statues, remnants of past civilizations, are signposts of the path man
has taken in history. In the bottom left hand corner is a sculpted head
of the Olmec people of Mexico. And in the immediate centre of the painting
the dominant figure fuses the joint features of the Statue of Liberty with
a statue of the Buddha. Both are ideals of civilization. Grandiosely they
were created by man to glorify his civilization, to symbolise the delusory
concept of 'civilization' and symbolise the accomplishments of the people
who created them. Behind the Statue of Liberty are the sculpted heads from
Easter Island, receding into the distance still shrouded by the mystery
of their creators.
**(Of course, the Statue of Liberty was made in France and given as a gift to the fledgling democracy of the United States. It has since, however, been turned into a symbol of what the US claims it stands for, and what defines it.)
A new version of this work with the title
"The instance of grievance: not enough died on 9/11?"
can be seen on my Facebook page