The American administration and its allies used a powerful metaphor and stereotyping to win public support in their use of force in the gulf conflict of 1991 “villain attacks powerful victim and then the hero comes to defeat the villain and rescue the victim. Villain is not rational, he does not respond to persuasion or rational reasoning, thus the only way of dealing with him is through defeat”, Paul Wahrhaftig.
Certainly the Americans are not the only ones using metaphors or stereotyping of this nature, to gain public support. Throughout history this very effective tool to incite ugly nationalism, religious conflict and gender and sexual bigotry, to name but a few, has been successfully implemented.
Stereotyping and demonization do not allow for creating alternative metaphors or understanding of the other. It does not contribute to constructive resolution of conflicts or the annihilation of bigotry. Add the often lethal ingredient of journalistic stereotyping and incitation to polarization and you have a cocktail of angst, prejudice, ageism, mainstreaming or isolation of minority groups be it political, religious, sexual or otherwise. Ignorance and stereotyping perpetuate and generates preconceptions and misunderstanding. Conflict and exploitation of weaker groups seems almost a given as one side attempts to impose its imperialistic world vision on the other. Whether this is conveyed either by coercion or consensus, often depends on the momentary zeitgeist and what is required to win as many as possible for the cause.
This exhibition is an attempt to look at just such issues. Obviously an issue as complex as the above is difficult to integrate in a one off exhibition and requires longitudinal discourse and new perspectives, but this is an attempt to make a start. With a number of artists who have been preoccupied with just such issues.