Bris. art show on popular and personal struggles

Sam Bullock.

Wild International
Art exhibition by Sam Bullock
June 1-July 2
Andrew Baker Gallery
26 Brookes St, Bowen Hills

Sam Bullock has a wonderful artistic talent. He is also autistic.

This is the basis of a joke (one among many) we share as friends and comrades in Socialist Alliance, as we do our regular Green Left Weekly stalls together. When God's human designer was creating Sam, he couldn't properly hear what God's orders were: "Did He say autistic or artistic? Oh, never mind, we'll make him both just to be on the safe side."

Sam is a dedicated socialist and a brilliant painter. You can't separate the two aspects of him.

His latest exhibition, Wild International, at the Andrew Baker Gallery in Brisbane, is an explosion of colour and imagination, depicting various events and themes of revolution and people's struggle around the world today and in the past.

The 26 paintings refer to a wide variety of political and social themes, in a most striking and evocative manner.

As well straightforward politics, Sam also refers to personal sexual experiences and cultural issues in some surprising works. The overall effect is absolutely stunning.

The impact of the exhibition is further enhanced by the explanations/captions accompanying the paintings, based on recorded comments by Sam on each work.

For “The Egyptian Revolution (2011)”, Sam said: "We saw millions of people come to Tahrir Square, to overthrow the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak was a despotic dictator funded by the US ... The US is now losing control of Africa and the Middle East, as the Arab uprisings have spread."

For "Wild International (2011)", which includes the figures of Lenin, Trotsky and Mao, he said: "This is another painting that I did just recently. It was actually inspired by Diego Rivera -- I was looking at his work. It's about world socialism."

Of "Solidarity between Latin America and the Middle East (2010)", Sam said: "That's what the picture of Che and the fist represents -- the Arab world and Latin America bonded together in solidarity and respect over Palestine."

Some other works include: "The Socialist Republic of Afghanistan (2011)," referring to the historic progressive struggle in that country; "Red Star over Nepal (2010)," representing the anti-monarchical revolution there; "Feminism and Socialism (2010)," depicting three women comrades from Resistance and SA; "Freedom Fighters in the Basque Country (2010); "Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win (2011)," showing union activist Ark Tribe and Aboriginal leader Lex Wotton; and "Financial Assistance (2010)," about the US intervention in earthquake-struck Haiti.

Sam also has a number of personalised works, including, "Two Bodies, One Soul (2011)," about a close family friend, who had recently died tragically of cancer; "Wynnum Girl (2011)," whom he had met on a train; and "Self-Portrait in Red and Black (2011)".

This is the seventh exhibition of Sam's work held at the Andrew Baker Gallery.

In all, his body of work represents a unique fusion of revolutionary socialist commitment and artistic expression.

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