Oil on canvas, 99cm x130cm (2012)
O Yemi : "This painting was inspired by the Arab spring started in late 2010. I empathise with people that live under the tyrannical leaders like Ex-President of Tunisia, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali andLate Muamaar Gadaffi. Reading about the tragic death of a Tunisian man, Mohammed Bouazizi that set himself on fire - his response to daily humiliation by the Tunisian authorities, which encapsulates the true spirit of the Arab revolts. Suffering and killing of people that were demonstrating for their freedom moved me to do this painting in honour of those that were killed.
The main image in the painting is to represent the portrait of an Arab tyrannical Leader. Start from the head scarf : the red patterns of the scarf are the blood’s drops of those killed in the revolution.The face of the portrait is a fist of victory in the face of the tyrannical Arab Leader. The time on the wrist watch is to indicate that time is running out for all the tyrannical leaders of the world. During the Arab Revolution, women stood beside their men to fight for their freedom. Just as in the famous French Revolution painting by Eugène Delacroix (1830) ‘Liberty Leading the People’, the woman is in the middle of the painting, leading the Arab Revolution with hand raised high clenching a Blackberry mobile phone. The most powerful weapons for this revolution were mobile phones - hence the Blackberry revolution. Many images of atrocities committed by these tyrannical leaders and their governments were recorded and passed around through : msn, twitter and Facebook and by eye witnesses from mobile phones.
At the background of the painting are the explosions on both sides which are painted in the shape of raised clenched fists. In the left bottom corner of the painting lies the former tyrannical Libyan leader - Muamar Gadaffi and two other bodies of his men, in front of the tunnels where they were captured before they were killed.
The ultimate goal of the Arab revolution is peace and justice. People that had enough of violence and abuse from their tyrannical leaders rose up in peaceful demonstration to call for change. It is a shame that the peace which Arab people yearned for still eluded them, with wars still going on in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen."