some of the images on this site are disturbing, but much less disturbing
than actual war.
.you can't look away.
TO A WORK-IN-PROGRESS
to The War Room Project, the website for an anti-war art
installation by William T. Ayton. The site will be updated regularly;
visit Gallery One, Gallery
Two and News for new art,
project development and progress reports.
can also email us here.
CREATE THE WAR ROOM?
War Room seeks to:
*promote peace by portraying the futility, brutality,
and human dimension of war;
*offset media images of war that emphasize military prowess
and precision, hyper-nationalistic glory, and missionary zeal, yet
downplay the human cost of war;
*explore ourselves as warriors, victims, and/or witnesses;
*inspire viewers to reach their own conclusions about war
and our respective roles in it.
IS THE WAR ROOM PROJECT?
War Room installation is constructed of four wall-sized
panels depicting fundamental aspects of war: warriors, victims,
witnesses, and aftermath. Unlike conventional war rooms designed
to devise military strategy, Ayton’s War Room forces a provocative
confrontation with the brutal realities and consequences of war.
Inside the almost claustrophobic space, intense images engulf the
viewer compelling us to face fundamental questions of where we each
stand in the war room.
can’t look away. We identify with the powerful and
ravaged figures portrayed in the war room; we see ourselves as the
warriors, victims, and witnesses; and we recognize the bleak desolation
and alienation of the aftermath that we all experience in our daily
struggle to make sense of these turbulent times.
several possible venues for the installation are being considered,
as well as possible exhibitions of The War Room prototype
and related art. The exhibition schedule of events will be posted
as itinerary is confirmed. Meanwhile, initial studies and related
art has been shown at the "War and Peace: Artists' Voices"
Exhibition at Gallery 218 in Milwaukie, WI. and at the "Art
of War" online gallery at www.wnyc.com.
studies (pencil sketches) for the panels can be seen online
one, related works" features more detailed sketches
and recent works by Ayton with references and echos to The
War Room panels. "Gallery
two, precursor works" presents images of Ayton's
art from previous years dealing with related topics: human rights,
Hiroshima, war and peace. In this context, The War Room
stems from a larger body of work by Ayton addressing global themes. As
the art work for the project continues to be developed, it will
posted on this site.
WILL THE WAR ROOM REACH?
While the installation intends to reach a broad, public audience
primarily in urban, international centers, the War Room
Project website will reach viewers anywhere in the world with online
access. In the post-9/11 climate, the American public has been inundated
with images of nationalism. At the same time, in the name of patriotism
and “homeland defense,” unprecedented limits on free
speech threaten to curtail and inhibit artistic expression, especially
on vital policy issues such as war and peace, national security
and civil liberty, racism and tolerance. As a result, the media-numbed
public has been effectively sheltered from provocative art addressing
fundamental questions. The War Room intends to
puncture this invisible shield by reaching out to audiences and
taking a stand for peace and tolerance through art.
the tapestry of Picasso's Guernica was covered up for a Colin Powell
speech at the U.N. (February 2003), I knew I had to do something.
The War Room project is my response. The project is intended as
a thoughtful & meditative consideration of the subject of war.
After millennia of human existence, it seems we can't get past the
urge to solve our problems by wantonly destroying each other. This
to me, far from being a noble achievement of humankind, conversely
shows us to be little more than savages, despite whatever technological,
medical, philosophical, artistic and other "advances"
we have made. At our root, we still revel in killing one another
and wrecking our fragile planet in the process.
simply not good enough, and it has to stop.
T. Ayton, 2003
British painter William T. Ayton has exhibited extensively
across Europe and North America, with shows at the U.N. headquarters
in Geneva, the U.S. Senate Rotunda in Washington, D.C., and
World EXPO ’92 in Seville. Ayton is best known for the
international, 11-city tour of his work inspired by the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which was featured on
national television for the CBC. In the late 1990s, he was
a recipient of NYFA fiscal sponsorship for the North American
tour of his human rights exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary
of the UDHR. His drawings and illustrations have been featured
in The New York Times, Paris/Atlantic, The
Citizen, and many
other journals. After living and working in Edinburgh, Madrid,
Paris, and New York City, Mr. Ayton has settled in upstate
New York with his family.
for a list of selected exhibitions.