Christian Aid to launch Keane exhibition
Acclaimed artist John Keane and Christian Aid are launching an exhibition of paintings from the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the London Institute Gallery at the end of this month.
John Keane accompanied Christian Aid staff on a tour to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2002 in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli incursions into the West Bank. Based on this trip, John has produced an insightful series of paintings entitled The Inconvenience of History, which will be shown at the London Institute Gallery from 29 January to 11 March 2004. It will then go on to tour regionally including Belfast and Derby, as well as going to Ramallah in the West Bank later this year.
John Keane was appointed official artist by the Imperial War Museum for the Gulf War of 1991 and gained notoriety for his controversial depiction of Mickey Mouse in Kuwait City after the hostilities. His work has often addressed conflict and has included subjects ranging from Central America to Rupert Murdoch, as well as an interpretation of the events around 9/11. John has had numerous exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the US. His most recent exhibition resulted from an Amazon trip with Greenpeace during their campaign against illegal logging and was shown in London and Los Angeles in 2001/02 to much critical acclaim.
On his trip with Christian Aid, John visited the town of Jenin to see a Palestinian refugee camp which had been all but destroyed by Israeli tanks and bulldozers during the fighting. He also travelled to Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza and Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon).
John took video images and pictures of bombsites and spoke to people experiencing hardship and poverty because of this human-made catastrophe. He used these interviews and images as inspiration for this exhibition. The Inconvenience of History is a deeply personal account of what John saw on his trip with Christian Aid.
ìMy visits to Israel and the West Bank left me feeling the utter inadequacy of attempting to convey the reality of daily lives there to anyone who has not witnessed it first-hand, despite the prolific news coverage we receiveî John said.
ìSo in full comprehension of that fact I have tried in the work I have produced to explore ideas generated by what I saw through a very personal filter, bearing in mind that history can have an awkward habit of confounding preconception.î
The trip and the making of the exhibition have been recorded by award-winning photographer Paul Hackett and BBC4 has produced a documentary about John's work, which will be broadcast to coincide with the opening of the show at the London Institute Gallery. John's paintings will be available for sale with a percentage of proceeds going to Christian Aid.