A Little Dark Number - Julian Assange Painting

SongofJulian Gopalkrishnan2010

In this surreal landscape, Department of Defence (DOD) Dragonfly robots both record and control Julian Assange, our 19th century marionette-Crusader, holding his shield of digital secrets as the world redefines war.

If the battle today is about moderates and extremists, does anyone of us dare to admit where we stand? Do we know where Mr. Assange stands? If so, how well do you know yourself to say so? I'm not even going to attempt to say these are final thoughts on Wikileaks. They are at an accidental intersection of massive technological, social and spiritual shifts. These days a careless gesture can be magnified to the scale of a mythic battle that re-writes reality. Much as we overreact to something that's beamed to our iPhone within a second of happening, we forget the context, which in Wikileaks' case appears to be our collective rage.

Rage, perhaps, against the lost silence of our private thoughts and public vices that we could once ignore. At least when you think you're a good person it seems easier to do something generous. Not so easy today when what we reflect is the worst aspect of humanity.  Perhaps that's why he fits in so neatly with the chansons de geste. Songs of heroic (or foolish?) deeds, as translated from Old French. I use this metaphor to create this series of paintings for good reason. But never before has truth-telling been more complicated.


The patterns on the cake, so pale you need to stand close to read it, are the words jus in bello and jus ad bellum which refer to the idea of 'just war' and the 'just prosecution of that war'. Obviously very applicable to recent conflicts. Also a pattern made from the jihadist text so familiar to us now wraps around the cake like icing and as a frame around Julian because there is something of admiration for political suicide which appeals to activists from every side; as much to a patriotic soldier as to a suicide bomber. If this is not a return to the Crusader narratives central to the chansons de geste I don't know what is. It's un-fashionable to remind people of the Crusades because they think it flames the anger of Islamic extremism; but I would suggest The West still has some therapy to do here.

This is the most disturbing trend in progressive politics. More than ever I hear progressives talk about a 'war' on the Right. That, "...the end justifies the means". And so many of my paintings in this series is my way of asking myself and my viewers, are we so sure of where we stand? Do we know where people like Mr. Assange stand? If so, how well do you know yourself to say so? At the end of the day, the case against Assange doesn't stand up to the importance of exposing war crimes. The original war artists were given a mandate to show the failures of allied soldiers, their flaws and cowardice as much as their courage and suffering. History is too often rewritten by those who win.

More On WikiLeaks Online Updated Regularly

The links below this post have now moved to the Research Links page where I keep updating relevant and important updates concerning Assange, Wikileaks and the trial of Bradley Manning.




All text and images on this website are Copyright © to Carl Gopalkrishnan 2019