If you’ve read the news lately, you would know that there is a lot of conflict going on in the middle east, specifically in Egypt and Syria. Amidst all the debates about whether we should get involved or who the real bad guys are, thousands are dying. Reading about this in the news reminded me of my trip to Berlin last year. We visited the Holocaust Memorial for what was a rather somber afternoon.
There are hundreds of Holocaust Memorials all over the world, and all of them have the same message. They are a reminder of the dreadful murders that took place in Nazi Germany and a warning of the evil we are capable of. You would think that since then, we would have tried to completely eliminate genocide from the world. Unfortunately, at least twenty genocides have taken place since World War II. That’s averaging three per decade—not our proudest moment.
Okay, so what does art have to do with all this?
Last summer I went to Argentina. While I was chatting with my host mother, she mentioned the Coup of 1976. During this time, the government would send citizens who were deemed disloyal to a concentration camp, take the children, and “assign” them to loyal families. To this day, there are about 30,000 children who don’t know their parents. Such was the case of Carlos Alonso and his daughter. Following the traumatic experience, Alonso’s paintings became dark and disturbing. He vividly portrays the torment which has befallen him and many other Argentinians as a result of oppression by a corrupt government.