Special Forces - After Banksy

Essay by MabLCollege, Undergraduate April 2011

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"special forces - after banksy" By Matt Lees

In 2008 a young artist Van Thanh Rudd submitted a painting prepared especially for the Ho Chi Minh City art exhibition in Melbourne; which was to display the lives and creations of 10 young artists from Vietnam. Van Thanh Rudd, is a self-proclaimed 'artist activist' who resides in Melbourne. Rudd was requested, along with a Vietnamese artist based in Melbourne, to submit his art. Rudd's painting was judged to be unsuitable by the Melbourne City Council.

Van Thanh Rudd's painting illustrates a running Ronald McDonald carrying the Olympic torch past the famous imagery of the burning monk Thich Quang Duc in Saigon 1963. The 'burning monk' originally was the award winning photo taken by Malcolm Brown which depicts a protesting Buddhist against the Buddhist oppression by the Diem era in South Vietnam (catholic and fascist style methodologies led by Ngo Dinh Nhu and funded by the United States ).

As a result of the 9 killings and the ban of the Buddhist flag; on August 21, 1963, 1,400 Buddhist monks were arrested and hundreds were estimated to have been killed.

"special forces - after banksy" is an oil on canvas painting. The genre of the painting is profoundly political commenting on the "overwhelming historical thing is going back to American colonialism in Asia and globally."� said Rudd. Rudd uses the imagery of McDonalds to represent capitalism, America and consumerism in association with the Olympic torch to represent it as a global issue. Collaboration with the picture of the burning monk culminates in a very powerful, emotionally charged and controversial message. This message was too powerful and provocative to publish as China has been deemed sensitive on subjects like these. "China and Tibet issues have been controversial subjects around the council. Last year,