Rihanna's bruises on a bleeding canvas
They have been turned into art. You want to throw up?
A Los Angeles-based pop artist Sham Ibrahim has used the police photograph of the singer after she was bashed up by her partner Chris Brown. He is unapologetic and brutally superficial when he says that his intent was not to raise awareness about domestic violence; these were just interesting shapes to draw. "And it was cool to color them pink and blue. Those are two of my favorite colors."
I can imagine some of us getting all hot and bothered about such callousness. However, the problem starts with a woman putting up with such abuse; I read they were into kinky sex. It is a choice two adults are well within their rights to make. But clearly, this went beyond kinky. Why did the police release those pictures? Isn’t the media to blame for flashing them all over the place?
Where does responsibility begin and where does it end?
As readers, we take delight in every little detail about other people’s lives, especially the famous. Even when we comment on the issue, we are indeed using it as grist to keep our opinions well-lubricated. Our antennae are always up, often guised as self-righteousness.
Madonna made a killing bringing out a book of pictures posing essentially with nuts and bolts that made her look like a hardware store. The sado-masochism inherent in society feeds pop culture. The Barbie doll has found role models among celebrities in different parts of the world. These women, who are earning big bucks and are known for their work, want to become dolls. A doll that comes with a huge baggage.
Baggage sells. Trauma has a strange appeal. As this artist said about the Rihanna painting, “There is no message to any of my art. It's meant to look cool hanging on your wall and that's it! I'm not into deep meanings.”
Of course. No one will analyse this as they would Death and the Maiden or the use of historical tragedy in a Guernica.
Purely from the artistic point of view, this is such a juvenile attempt. Somebody has referred to it as Andy Warholesque. Not a chance. It is mere illustration with no creative input, except the colours.
It is prudent, therefore, to ask why and how something like a bruised Rihanna can look cool hanging on a wall. Surely, someone must want to buy the stuff. And it most certainly won’t be due to empathy.
What is it, then? One would think mirrors are redundant…