The Koger Center for the Arts Upstairs Gallery Exhibition
"Artists and Autocrats" by Colin Dodd
Western Liberal Democracy has nurtured freedom of expression and an environment in which artists have been able to create without fear of persecution for their ideas. In contrast, artists in states ruled by autocrats and dictators have consistently (throughout the twentieth and into this century) had to fear for their very existence because their ideas did not align with those of the ruling authority...absolute power cannot be challenged under any circumstances.
This exhibition includes homages to modernists whose work I admire, and these paintings are intended as a celebration. In contrast there are depictions of autocrats and dictators. These images were not created to celebrate those individuals but rather as a testament to all of the suffering that one individual can inflict upon the people that he (and isn't it always, he) controls, whether they be an ordinary citizen (deprived of fundamental rights) or an artist.