who killed John Key

Art and politics by Sam Mahon/ who killed John Key

Like Leonardo Da Vinci Sam Mahon is an artist of many talents. He lives in North Canterbury in a reconstructed flour mill. He is a painter, sculptor – mostly in bronze – and a printmaker: he’s a superb draughtsman and builds everything from musical instruments to miniature rockets, as well as orchestrating mock-battles. He is an environmental crusader who has battled to save Canterbury’s rivers from yet more dairy cows and irrigation schemes as has been proposed for his beloved Hurunui River. Check out our artists for save our water link. He does not hesitate to push us out our “art for art sake ‘ comfort zone.
Click on this link to see why Sam Mahon painted Who killed John Key

His first book The Year of the Horse won the Best First Book of Prose Award in 2003. This was followed by the much-acclaimed The Water Thieves in 2006; a lament for the rivers and ‘a fine literary achievement’. And his latest venture is an on -line detective puzzle with prizes inviting the public to contemplate a picture of John Key as a corpse and play an interactive game on his website called, “Who Killed John Key?” Sam says about John Key “The thing about this man is that he seems to be able to lie to the public straight-faced knowing that given a month or three the promises he makes will be forgotten. Success in politics seems to depend on the public having a very short memory.”
The painting shows Key’s body slumped against a wall in an alley with a rifled wallet beside him. A half-empty wine bottle, a rat and a half-eaten apple are among the detritus nearby.
Viewers are invited to discover Key’s “killer” by viewing 24 video clues embedded in the picture, most of which are interviews with Key taken from the Web. People who guess the killer will be eligible for prizes including a Mahon cast bronze of a dying dove (“a metaphor for dying hopes”).
Sam Mahon believes : “All art is expression and metaphor and the job artists have is to make people feel uncomfortable. Now once you’ve made people uncomfortable you’ve got their attention. And once you’ve got their attention you can begin to change their mind.”

Some artists and social critics believe that art is useless as a tool for political change and that like Clement Greenberg who hijacked Western Art for decades with his dictum of “Art for Art’s Sake,’ serious art is above politics of a say naive Soviet realism or the anti Nazi critique of German artist George Grosz who had to flee for his life when Hitler came to power.The German artist George Grosz so despised the savagery of World War I that he tried to commit suicide in 1917 and was later almost shot for desertion. His ruthless caricatures of the 1920s captured the perversity of Weimar Berlin, filled with profiteers, prostitutes and poverty-stricken cripples and amputees. When Hitler came to power in 1933, Grosz emigrated to America where he lived until 1958, the year before he died. He depicted a German family complete with baby all chewing on guns and potrayed Hitler swallowing gold and talking crap. Artist Sam Mahon is a fighter in this political mode. He pulls no punches and rockets us from our art comfort zone. Check out the prizes and the link to who killed John Key in our links.

0 Comments Add Yours ↓

  1. Alma Rae #

    To the author: you’ll have to look up what it means to pull a punch, and then apologise to Sam, before or after you change that sentence, but quickly.

  2. Jennifer Copeland #

    This is absolutely disgusting and what sort of a person could do this??? Who would want to buy any of his paintings…

  3. Wendy Bradley #

    Well done Sam! Keep us all on our toes!!! There is so much we don’t know and we need people like you to keep us all curious and suspicious of what is really going on.

  4. Jo Hardy #

    Go Sam! Love the painting of the flaking wall. Visually Key is one of those slippery specimens of whom it is difficult to capture a likeness – mostly in the eyes (whites on three sides of the irises). Much harder with eyes closed.Creepily regular hairline too. All art is politucal, whether overtly or otherwise. Keep up the good work.

  5. 5

    I’d buy it then ask one to painted of me. Dead of course.
    Beautiful work Sam.
    Please let Wellington know when your next exhibition is.

    Kind Regards,
    Lance Ravenswood.

  6. Barry Graham #

    The comparison of this clown to Da Vinci is sadly delusional. “Artist Sam Mahon is a fighter in this political mode” (of George Grosz) – aren’t you getting a little carried away? This is a self absorbed, attention seeking, circus side show. If you’re that dim jump aboard.

  7. Morag Lorigan #

    Listen to his story on youtube before you make a hasty judgement about this man