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The Ozymandias series is inspired by Shelley’s poem of the same name. The poem and my series investigate the hubris and inhumanity of some of the world’s most recent genocidal dictators, some long gone, some still in power, all men.

Back in my teaching days, Ozymandias was on the curriculum and it is one of those powerful and memorable poems that becomes more relevant with the passage of time. My exciting life as a hippie, then as a diplomatic wife and latterly as a tourist has taken me all over the world. About 5 years ago we were following the Silk Route across China, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgystan, visiting endless tombs, monuments, mosques, some amongst the earliest in human existence, some merely enormous new hydro poles crossing vast and uninhabited areas. Ozymandias came back to me as epitomizing what man erects in his own name.

The poem and its symbolism sat quietly in my head until the Arab Spring started and the imperial nature of Ghadaffi and others became clearer. The rapidity of events fascinated me and I began to link the carnage of the Arab Spring with other genocides and particularly with Ozymandias, the “sneer of cold command”. My life has been filled with experiences under such dictators (with the exception of Sudan, I have lived in or travelled in all the other countries represented in the paintings)”.

In making my selection of who to paint (and there are many of them) I decided they needed to have been committing their atrocities during my lifetime, to have been truly genocidal in the sense of deliberately killing their own citizens and to have been the leader of their nation during the time of pursuing these murders. There are, alas, many more that could have been included.

by Percey Bysshe Shelly (1792-1822)

I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Ozmandias #1 - Suharto, Indonesia Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 36"

Ozmandias #2 - Saddam Husein, Iraq Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #3 - Hitler, Germany Acrylic on Canvas 36" x 48"

Ozmandias #4 - Josef Stalin, USSR Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #5 - Idi Amin, Uganda Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #6 - Kim Jong Il, North Korea Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 36"

Ozmandias #7 - Milosevic, Serbia Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 36"

Ozmandias #8 - Mao Tse Tung, China Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #9 - Pinochet, Chile Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 36"

Ozmandias #10 - Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwea Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 48"

Ozmandias #11 - Bashir al-Assad, Syria Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #12 - Bashar, Sudana Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 36"

Ozmandias #13 - Gadafi, Libya Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"

Ozmandias #15 - Pol Pot, Cambodia Acrylic on Canvas 30 " x 40"