Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Inspiration for this print was a section of the ruins of the medieval abbey of Villelongue, north west of Carcassonne. Thousands of years ago there were many unexplained things happening which people explained by weaving stories which became myths. Over time those myths morphed into beliefs and into doctrines. While the story progressed some people put another spin on those beliefs. Tolerance allowed beliefs to exist side by side, but our tolerance appears to have completely dwindled, despite ready access to literature and internet. The print represents a part of this region’s history. What took place then is still happening under our noses except that the scale of the horror in now greater and the methods employed are manifold.

Now, more than ever, I believe people should heed the past and not fall prey to populists, megalomaniacs and demented rulers.

The main “frame”, for want of a better word, is printed using five blocks of poplar ply. 

Everything was printed by hand along the lines of the Japanese “Moku Hanga” method.

Two vaults depict the sack of Acre by the Crusaders in their quest to subdue the Muslims; the sack of Beziers and the burning of the Cathars on Mont Ségur during a crusade initiated by the Pope to bring, as he called it, ‘heretics into line’; and a scene of the Bartholomew night when Catharina de Medici dealt with the Protestants. 

These scenes were carved on a beech plank, like Albrecht Dührer would have done at the time.

The upper vault depicts more recent history - the outrage of the apartheid era and the current situation in the Middle East.
As such they are represented by a more modern medium of linoleum and a different style of drawing.

With letter type I printed the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations in Latin. This was based on the first declaration of the United States of America Constitution and the French constitution of 1791. 
The capital "O" was painted and gilded by hand.

The English and French translations are:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux en dignité et en droits. Ils sont doués de raison et de conscience et doivent agir les uns envers les autres dans un esprit de fraternité.

This is followed by an excerpt of a poem written by Yevgeni Yevtushenko called Babi Yar.

The names of recent history, the genocide in Armenia, in Rwanda Burundi, in Sréberniça and the camps of the Holocaust during the Second World War are written using a pen made of a goose feather quill.

It is a complex print and not necessarily something that every one would like hanging on the wall. Therefore I’ve printed only one single print sofar, but if someone wants one they can contact me and I will print one. Go to the ‘shop’ to order.

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