Drawing in a Time of Fear & LiesWeekend

Spirits and Hungry Ghosts

It was time for Donald to go to the temple.

Anthony Hawley, “March 16, 2017” (2017), sumi ink on silver gelatin print, 10 x 8 inches

Compared to other Neolithic ruins in Malta, the Skorba Temples are in pretty poor condition. They consist of a few giant upright boulders flanking a roofless space. The ruins are tucked away in an unremarkable town with no signage whatsoever leading to the site. Were it not for the ticket booth and placard at the edge of the location, one could easily miss them. That being said, the rocks themselves are amazing.

My drawing surface is a photograph of the megalithic remains as seen through the blurred veil of a wire fence. I walked miles and charted a complex bus route to travel there on a scorching summer day last July, only to find out that I couldn’t enter the tiny site because the office was already closed for the day. This I was told by a nice woman in small white booth with a radio playing.

So I found myself peering through the holes of a fence at what was left of one of the earliest human structures. Something about the quiet of this experience spoke to the daily notes to Donald; perhaps to the unprecedented sense of time the Trump administration manufactures.

It was time for Donald to go to the temple.

Here is the thing: As the US stumbles through an ever-expanding loop of political claims, blames, leaks, and drips, what happens to time? If the Trump administration continues to assemble narratives to fit its rarified agenda, “purifying” itself of challengers, how will real time (can we call it that?) be squashed, compressed, carved out, and even obliterated?

A Maltese once told me you can barely build a road there without unearthing a tomb. This got me thinking a lot about the island as a unit of storage. Where do you keep such complex history? Where do all the stories go? So how do you continue to “store” the dead, let alone treat and “store” the living (refugees)?

Every day now, I try to use a slightly different version of the Skorba image for my “Drawings for Donald” — manipulated, tweaked, collaged, underexposed, overexposed, etc. The daily repetition of the image helps reflect the uncharacteristic compression of the real, the fake, the truths, and lies. Part of what interests me is the question of what an image can store. How can it sound out buried spaces that are daily being shoved aside? How can it make room for all the spirits and hungry ghosts?

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