Anger inspires exhibit in Metchosin

Artists offer Monsters at MAG based on current and historical world politics including the likes of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Idi Amin

Frank Mitchell is one of the artists displaying her art in the Metchson Art Gallery’s Monsters show.

Being angry with George Bush got Frank Mitchell’s brush moving.

As he got angry with the Bush administration and other leaders the more paintings came out.

“Gradually I had a whole set of people,” said the Metchosin painter.

Mitchell teamed up with Saanich painter Sylvia Bews-Wright for the show Monsters displayed at the Metchosin Art Gallery. The show opened Oct. 6 and will remain on display until Oct. 28. Both artists work in acrylic paints.

Mitchell’s series of paintings is titled Axis of Evil, the name taken from Bush’s state of the union address in 2002.

“This comes from me being angry and frustrated at the stupid and misguided behaviour of our southern neighbour. They are trying to solve all the problems by shooting people up,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell will display 37 painting of “perpetrators, enablers and victims,” he said.

Of his collection Bush and Dick Cheney make his list of perpetrators, Ariel Sharon is marked as an enabler and “the victims are anonymous, the victims are always anonymous.”

The paintings were created between 2002 and 2009.

“I am showing this to be interesting to other people, I want them to come here and think,” Mitchell said.

It was coincidence that Bews-Wright was working on a series of paintings that would work well with Mitchell’s art.

“All of my paintings were all based on leaders of the countries who committed genocide and killed their own people,” Bews-Wright said.

“Some of them are still in power.”

The Saanich painter’s series is titled Ozymandias, after the poem by Percy Shelley.

Bews-Wright has become interested in these leaders during her travels along the “Silk Road.”

While in Cambodia, Bews-Wright travelled through a former killing field.

“It was the most awful place I have ever been. You see puddles (shallow graves) with fragments of bones and clothing. There were skulls preserved in a glass column several hundred feet high,” Bews-Wright said.

Fifteen of Bews-Wright’s paintings are on display and include  images of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Idi Amin.

After painting all of theses “monsters,” Bew-Wright said she felt, “elated and cleansed.”

For Mitchell it wasn’t that simple.

“I am still frustrated at the nonsense that goes on,” Mitchell said.

“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes more than one person to do terrible things.”


The Metchosin Art Gallery is at 4495 Happy Valley Rd. The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. from Thursday to Sunday. For more information call 250-478-9223.



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