London Pride Inspired Art (by )

I have been working on a concept of a picture for a long time - since I was a teenager but could never get it right. Then yesturday I saw a friend's quotes as to why London Pride mattered and it sparked the desire to try and capture this picture again.

So I started painting - its not a picture about being gay or anything really that's linked to London Pride but it is about Intolerance.

Its called The Strange Fruit of Intolerance:

The Strange Fruits of Intolerance

There is a bigger picture over on Salaric Craft along with how it was painted. The colours are a bit washed out due to me having taking the photo with flash - I'll attempt to get a better pic later.

Here are the twitter quotes that sparked it:

owenblacker: Gay Pride is important because we still don't have equality. And schoolkids (& Chris Moyles) still think "gay" is worthy as a term of abuse

scottbert: Gay Pride is important because of rising homophobia and violent attacks in East London #PrideLondon

serialseb: Gay Pride is important because lgbt people still get killed, arrested or sent to "reassignment" therapies and commit suicide

DavidWaldock: Gay Pride is also important as a way to take a stand against extremist, fascist political parties like the BNP and Tories

DavidWaldock: Gay Pride is important because there are still health inequalities faced by LGBT-types, and we deserve better. #PrideLONDON

I saw most of them as retweets but still!

As I said the picture is not about Gay Pride but it is about intolerance - and as those quotes show this is an area of great intolerance and as I have been watching this country enter a slipper slope of hate against those not percieved as main stream I felt it was time I started saying what I think and feel before we end up in a regime where this is not allowed. People do not realise how quickly a society can slip into a Nazi-esk situation do to apathy - people do not notice or bother with the little things like play ground name calling and posters up in the local boys school and then when it gets bad it is no longer safe to say anything and you end up with social scapgoats and mass murder.

So before this country slips into something like V for Ventetter I shall say what needs to be said because I am a chicken and once things are 'dangerous' I'll be as quiet as a mouse.

I am no great crusader.

The picture is full of symbolism, and is a symbol - this is going to be a long post I'm afraid!

It is called The Strange Fruit of Intolerance - during my GCSE's I had a set text called To Kill a Mocking Bird and I was so touched by this story that I kept the book and have re-read it many time. The entire book is pretty much about intolerance - most people know or see the racism in it straight away but it is full of other examples too - there is sexism, class-ism and with Boo a social recluse mental health and being just plain different is covered. The scorn of the old towards the young is also heavily featured.

I was disturbed by the out come of the American legal system in the book and so endlessly chatted about to anyone who would listen and started work on a fantasy story that was directly seeded from this noval by Mary Lee Haper.

As a result I ended up part of a team raising money for the homeless the efforts of which appeared in local newspapers and even got mentioned higher up the media chain - I also ended reading out bits I'd written about countries that still existed under totalatrian regimes earning me an evening at local church where we presented out, poetry and the like to try and raise awearness of the intolerances and inequalities around the world.

Obviously I also went to Kenya in 2000 and where I was horrified that the other young people with me discovered that street children even existed - I myself had been watching documentrys on Brizilian street children who at the time were being hunted down like animals and lived in the cities sewer systems.

When I say young I was 19.

Anyway I digress - in all of this at some point someone played me a song that wrapped itself around my heart I've only heard it once and it was from an old scratchy record - I remembered it wrongly it turns out but I will say what I remembered first:

What strange Fruit is this - blood at the roots and blood at the tips?

The actual words are:

Southern trees bear strange fruit,

Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,

Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,

Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

It is by Billie Holiday and obviously about the racism that was (I use the past tense in hope there) preverlent in the American South at the time.

There is a video of her singing it here

The lyrics themselves were based on a poem written by a Jewish school teacher after a lynching.

My picture shows a tress with strange fruit i.e. drops of blood that fall to make a tide of blood which well up into hearts and that are chained by barbed wire - the hearts get smaller as you go up until they fall as drops of blood on the tree which is also wrapped in the same loop of barbed wire.

The tree is white - it is bones of society laid bare, when the fruit become to heavy they distort the frame work of the tree pulling the branches down to the sea of blood. Some of the branch tips are not imprisioned by the barbed wire and are untouched by the strange fruits - these are the areas where hope lays.

The 'ground' is the past dark and murky reaching to a future clouded but as yet untainted by the violence. The sea also becomes deeper and more turbulent as you move away from the tree - this is to represent how on tiny drop - some insignificant unthinking piece of cruelty can lead to war.

The picture shows how intolerance chains our hearts leading to a cyclic cascade of volience and pain. Crippling society.

I am pleased with this picture - it has only taken a decade or so to get to this junksure, I have painted many of these white trees and some have the strange fruit upon them but this is the symbolism I sought.

The colours are more vibrant than the photo shows and the barbed wire which is a continual length with out end twisted around both the hearts and society is done in enamel and so shines matalic which can never come across in a photo.

Strange Fruits

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