Socialist Worker

Art inspired by horror in Iraq

Issue No. 1955

Painting by Fernando Botero

Painting by Fernando Botero

Fernando Botero is Colombia’s best-known painter, famous for pictures of middle class families and plump businessmen. But his latest work is a radical departure from such cosy small town scenes.

Shocked by revelations of US forces torturing of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison, Botero decided to paint the horrific scenes he was reading about.

“I am increasingly sensitive to injustice, which makes my blood boil, and these paintings were born from the anger provoked by this horror,” he says.

Botero’s political direction marks a break with his earlier approach. He had previously argued that art “doesn’t have the capacity to change anything” and should therefore steer clear of controversial topics.

Fernando Botero’s work will be on show at the Palazzo Venezia in Rome from 16 June to 25 September

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Sat 11 Jun 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1955
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