Keep ‘Em Flyin’

Keep ‘Em Flyin’ – 2011, collage, 70cm x 82.5cm/28in x 38in, © 2020 Dixon Adair


Keep ‘Em Flyin’ alludes to misguided wars in Southeast Asia by ironically juxtaposing natural and man-made flight and variously turned V-shaped geometrics.

At the bottom, a phone operator, her visage criss-crossed with flying war planes, is set against a pyramidal pile of crashed fighter planes rising out of a bomb-cratered landscape.  Atop the operator’s head and central to the assemblage stands a statue of the Buddha, its shape mimicked by the warplane immediately above it which has an even tinier plane notched on its right wing thereby echoing the upturned hand on the Buddha statue. 

In the center, the remnants of a larger Buddha’s face merge with various elements of the backdrop, so that the eyes emerge from bomb craters, the outlines of the nose blend with the upper shoulders of the small Buddha statue, and an eagles’ beak is superimposed on the left forehead of the face, echoing the outline of the right forehead. Spanning out from the Buddha’s elongated ear lobes are dead birds’ wings whose skeletal remains blend with the crashed corpses of planes on either side of the operator’s face. 

At the top, a modern day bomber with its in-air refueling port visible cuts across a full moon against which a crane is flying. The crane, symbol of happiness and eternal youth due to its legendary millennial lifespan, is pierced by the bomber’s left canard while flying in the wake of fighter jets.

The Buddha serenely witnesses the short-sighted destructive folly of humankind’s bellicose nature.

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