Saturday, June 06, 2009


The work on paper above is called 'Truth' and it part of my series on water which I have previously written about on this BLOG. It is an image of the Aral Sea, a saline lake located in Uzbekistan and Kazakstan, both previously part of the former Soviet Union. In 1960 the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake, the size of Southern California. The blue mass on the left is the Aral Sea in 1989, the divided mass on the right is the sea in 2003.

In the past few decades there have been drastic changes brought about by agricultural and industrial activities. The Aral Sea's volume has deceased by 75% with its surface area by 50 percent. The shoreline has receeded up to 120 km from its former shore.

I have written text copied from Wikepedia which is 'the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit.' The text comes from the entry on the Aral Sea. I have called the painting 'Truth' to comment on the veracity of information provided by internet sources such as Wikepedia and the increasing use of it as a source of information. The entry on the Aral Sea reads authoratively, but with so much information available today on the internet, how do we really know? The entry on the Aral Sea has changed since I painted this image earlier this year, which is in keeping with the Wikepedia philosophy.

Yet, satelite photographs of the Aral Sea reveal the truth that it has drastically diminished over a relatively short time. I found other photographs as well as those on Wikepedia. These amazing photographs, taken from a vast distance, hit you in the stomach with the visual information they provide. Written information about details does not have quite the same impact. However, the two together provide an imperative to do something about the situation.

This painting again deals with my interest in the macro and micro, global and local and our need to develop flexible perspective of ourselves and others. How can we move back and forth from a macro perspective to a micro perspective when we live locally in an increasingly globalised world? Indeed, is it possible to have both close and far perspectives simultaneously? How can we ensure healthy self interest [ie: local] benefits the whole world?

Truth Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

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