The Art of Peace

Blog by Jill Gibbon

ImageThere is a long tradition of official war art where artists are commissioned to draw in war zones. My work reverses this tradition. Instead of drawing war zones to commission, I draw the arms trade uninvited.  My drawings are made undercover in arms fairs, arms company dinners, and AGMs. I draw in A6 concertina sketchbooks - they are small enough to hide, but can be opened out to work on a larger scale.
War and repression are big business. Arms companies expanded into multinationals in the late C20th as part of wider processes of globalisation. With few ties to any state, they sell to both sides of disputes, unstable governments, and repressive regimes. Most of these deals take place in arms fairs - trade shows for military equipment. Here, bombs, drones, tanks and guns are promoted like luxury goods. Hostesses give away show catalogues, sweets and condoms. 

Products are promoted for each political moment - heavy arsenal for  the war on terror, 'less lethal' weaponry for the Arab Spring.  New lines are launched with spectacular displays - a fashion show alongside racks of missiles, a string quartet on the back of a of military truck. And between the vast bombs, tables are laid with champagne and pretzels.

ImageJill draws a 'column' in Peace News called Jill's Defence Weekly and her other work can be seen here.

Topics: Anti-militarism