|The works presented in this "new" section are some years old now - most having been created in 2004, with some finished early in 2005. (More recently in 2010 I added one painting finished in 2009.)
Since then I have been largely preoccupied with reading vast tracts of what our ancestors have written, taking notes & making commentary. Whether it is realised or not, our human achievement is currently at a cross-roads, as it was after Constantine converted to Christianity; when the Roman empire adopted Christianity as its official faith, and as a consequence the Classical world came to be disemboweled. Theodosius closed down the Sarapeum in Alexandria, and in Greece, the Sacred Oak of Dios (Zevs) at Dodona was closed down. This was the intolerance that was to come.
Centuries earlier, when the Dorian invaders overthrew the Mycenaean civilization of Greece a new representation of Dios (Zevs) came about; his symbol was the trident. Hesiod, in his Theogony, tells us that his power lay in the 3 manifestations of the storm: the lightning bolt, lightning flash, and the sound of thunder. This figure of the trident wielding god appeared from Greece through Anatolia and Syria. In addition, in antiquity divinity was represented by the wearing of the bull-horns: symbol of the crescent moon. It meant that the god was the master of the heavens. The Greek Dios (Zevs), as per Hesiod, was the god of Order, Righteousness and Reason, having created them from Chaos.
With Christianity, all that once represented good was rendered a representation of evil, and all that was once considered bad, became good. For Paul, the Greeks worshipped demons, not gods (1 Corinthians 10:20). The symbols of the trident-wielding, divine figure of God (Zevs), was inverted by the Christians to became a monster, the symbol of the Devil, of unspeakable evil. In the Latin West the old Greek component of Roman civilization was obliterated, thanks largely to Augustine (considered by Catholics to be a "saint"). In the Greek east the Christian was merged with the Greek philosophical past in a syncretist reinterpretation of Christianity. (It was this Greek Byzantine version, via Greek philosophers from Mistra - like Gemistos Plethon, and John Argyropoulos - that the birth of the Renaissance in Florence was able to come about; before the Turks reduced Mistra, Greece's Florence, into an abandoned wilderness.)
From England, Boniface traveled to Germany, to expunge the Germans of their syncretist version of Christianity. His most notable achievement was the tearing down of the Sacred Oak of Donnar (or Thonnar, who came to later be known as "Thor"). The most notable consequence was that Germany, via the efforts of Boniface, was introduced to absolute intolerance. The Oak of Donnar was destroyed (as had been the Greek oak at Dodona) because the Old Testament demands that the altars to other gods be demolished lest they become "a thorn in one's side". The Old Testament also forbade astrology, & "sorcery". In the New Testament, the Jews were deemed to have been responsible for the "murder" of the Christian's prophet. Germans went from destroying the pagan places of worship, to expunging heretics & "infidel", (those who denied Jesus, for example, Jews), and "witches" (hexen). Boniface's greatest achievement lies, then, in the eventual Holocaust undertaken by Hitler in the 20th Century AD. Boniface, an intolerant abomination, is remembered as the "patron apostle" of the Germans.
Much has been destroyed - but in the "west" many focus on a past they are aware of and infer, from the ignorance of what they do not know, that perhaps not tolerating intolerance is simply a manifestation of their old Christian values that would make them as intolerant as were their ancestors in the past. Hence Islam the religion of misanthropy rages because it is simpler to remain ignorant and apathetic in the hope that it might just go away.
Muslims destroyed the Library(ies) in Alexandria at c. AD 641-649; in Persia the Muslims demolished the Zoroastrian "horn-temples", (as recorded in Arab chronicles) and the Persian capital Ctesiphon, (as massive as its contemporary, the city of Byzantium) was obliterated; the Roman Christians (Catholics) destroyed the Byzantine Libraries in 1204. History is about to repeat itself, if we choose to ignore it.
It is rather pointless to draw and paint as if the world ill-winds are going to blow over. This is not going to happen. It won't simply go away by our simply ignoring it. If we believe that we have the right to think independently, accept or reject belief in god independently, and that we have the right to articulate our ideas in images or in words, (symbolic thought), then all these are assailed by Islam. Armed with the technologies our society(ies) have created, Islam's antipathy to our collective values is seeking to destroy us. If we cherish our freedom to think independently , we have to make a stance. Any one who thinks that Islam is a force of good is indulging a self delusion.