This work was commenced shortly after the invasion of Ukraine of 2022. I wanted to use my portrait skills in a cathartic work.

It reflects a frustration and sadness of the global political climate that in the past and the present helped steer the world to where a full invasion of Ukraine was possible. It is not solely about Ukraine, it is also about democracy under attack in so many countries. I see the depicted persons’ motivations as being varied but including: corruption, greed, blindness to reality, despite evidence to the contrary a willingness to believe things if it suits their purpose or gives power, and the playing of politics as if it’s purely a game when it has serious real world consequences that those who play the game are mostly immune from.

It features several politicians and news/media owners/presenters but is by no means a full list, they are the ones that stood out most to me from the news that I saw, and at a time of French presidential elections. Zelensky is in it, to represent Ukraine, the war, and how it has been used from several sides.

It is entitled 2022 (1) because I am hoping to do a second, sister, work that will feature persons who I deem most helpful in Ukraine and for democracy. As time goes on, I’m not sure this will happen. Not only because Ukraine seems likely to still be in a war at the end of the year, but also because so far it feels that there are few cleanly good deeds. Some who help Ukraine are also attacking democracy elsewhere. Politics, like life, is messy. So I will probably stick to my happier usual subjects instead.

If you don’t agree with my views, you can enjoy the artistry of the work as a whole, with the likenesses of the figures depicted.

The persons depicted are (clockwise from top right): Mélenchon, Johnson, Trump, Le Pen, Zemmour, Malofeev, Schroeder, Carlson, Lebvedev, Putin, Zelensky, Murdoch.

Along with the famous faces are some of the real world consequences of their playing games with politics. Bombers, bombs, destruction of cities, making soldiers of people, forcing people and children from their homes, the toll on the children. Then there’s the strings drawn, the puppets, the involvement of the Russian church and the money laundered around the world.

This work is made with charcoal, chalk and sanguine on l450g linen, stretched on wood frame – 100cm x 75cm x 2.5cm.