Being angry with former U.S. President George Bush got Frank Mitchell’s brush moving.
As he got angry with the Bush administration and other leaders, the more paintings came out.
“Gradually I had a whole set of people,” said the Metchosin painter.
Mitchell teamed up with Saanich painter Sylvia Bews-Wright for the show Monsters at the Metchosin Art Gallery, which runs until Oct. 28. Both work in acrylic paints.
Mitchell’s series of paintings is titled Axis of Evil, the name taken from Bush’s state of the union address in 2002.
“This comes from me being angry and frustrated at the stupid and misguided behaviour of our southern neighbour. They are trying to solve all the problems by shooting people up,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell will display 37 paintings of “perpetrators, enablers and victims,” he said.
“I am showing this to be interesting to other people, I want them to come here and think.”
It was coincidence that Bews-Wright was working on a series of paintings that would work well with Mitchell’s art.
“All of my paintings were all based on leaders of the countries who committed genocide and killed their own people,” Bews-Wright said. “Some of them are still in power.”
Her series is titled Ozymandias, after the poem by Percy Shelley.
Bews-Wright became interested in these leaders during her travels along the “Silk Road” and Southeast Asia. While in Cambodia, Bews-Wright travelled through a killing field.
“It was the most awful place I have ever been. You see puddles (shallow graves) with fragments of bones and clothing. There were skulls preserved in a glass column several hundred feet high,” she said.
Fifteen of Bews-Wright’s paintings are on display and include images of Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong and Idi Amin.
After painting all of these “monsters,” Bew-Wright said she felt, “elated and cleansed.”
For Mitchell it wasn’t that simple. “I am still frustrated at the nonsense that goes on,” he said. “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes more than one person to do terrible things.”
The Metchosin Art Gallery is at 4495 Happy Valley Rd., open from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday to Sunday.