My painting ‘Power’ is about the three types of power as defined by the sociologist Max Weber . These are:
1. Traditional Authority based on the belief of the ‘rightness’ of established customs and traditions, whereby the subordinates are controlled by their own feelings of loyalty and obligation to those in power such as monarchs and others who have inherited status.
2. Charismatic Authority whereby subordinates feel devotion to leaders who they believe have exceptional qualities such as knowledege and influence, for example political leaders.
3. Rational-legal Authority . This is based on those in authority setting rules and then commanding these are obeyed. A legal framework ensures action or punishment for those who break the rules, for example, judges, police, tax inspectors, the military, etc.
My painting is a criticism of those in power, who instead of using their power in a responsible, just way, use their power for their own personal gain. My grandmother once told me a story about my grandfather. He was an ‘Independent Labour’ Councillor and a New Forest Verderer and was so concerned about corruption within the political system that he refused the offer of becoming Mayor. ‘Old Boys Clubs’ are well known for giving positions of power to their fellow elite collegues. I feel we need to question whether those, who are given these positions, are really there to serve their subordinates to the best of their ability and to ask if they are really in touch with the people they serve. They are certainly not representitive of the public as a whole. Slow progress is being made as more people from different ethnic backgrouds and women are being invited into their circles. However, it would seem that bloodlines still rule and women, children and ethnic minorities are still on the receiving end of the elites barbaric actions. My partner once said ‘Instead of wars taking place, they should get the leaders of the world into a boxing ring and let them fight their issues out themselves. Perhaps if this were to happen then we would not be wasting money on weapons and aid.’ This is a fairly comical point of view but it does make one think about who is suffering and makes one question why this is happening. I have included a flower to represent women and a calabaza (Calabash or dry gourd) to represent children and ethnic minorities. The calabaza has a spider web of barbed wire around it, refering to the African childrens stories about Anansi the deceitful spider. I have also put in many natural things, such as seeds, that man is slowly gaining power over, in order to have power over the masses. We are so dependant on our governments and we trust others in authority to such an extent that we are completely at their mercy. What happens when those in power betray our trust? Don’t say it won’t happen – It is happening all around the world and now, with modern technology, we can receive this news in the comfort of our sitting rooms. ‘With great power, comes great responsibiity’ so apparently says Spiderman! lol