In the Ukraine it’s not an exploding orange sunset you see, it’s missiles hitting their targets. Amongst blackened, matchstick-splintered Ukrainian homes. Millions of words are being spoken around the world about ‘what to do.’ And many pictures are beamed around the world too.
Still pictures. Moving pictures.
Dusty roads. Queues of cars.
But there’s a far more powerful aesthetic going on that no Renaissance masterpiece can beat. Put aside your Botox and layers of make up girls. The dignity, courage and super-charged love of Ukrainian mothers-in-war is now showing.
Behold the lack of screeching entitlement which bedevils our affluent, easy and bloated Western culture. Instead, finely-boned, pale faces, exhausted with worry, emerge with faint smiles, on to our television screens. They answer those ‘stating the obvious’ questions from interviewers who sit safely in nice, warm television studios. They will never betray their iron-clad determination not to break down. They give quiet, articulate responses.
‘Yes. I have decided. I will try not to worry my children. So I smile’.
‘Well, of course, we do not know what will happen.’
If you are an artist, please paint these faces for posterity. Dignity in the face of destruction is a rare beauty in today’s world. Around the world we sympathise and we continue to talk.
But it takes a bare face to show us who we are.