One Man and his Sheep 1989
Polychromed wood on marble floor
Ana Maria Pacheco (b 1943)
“This piece explores the complex and strange rituals and power structures that humans create.”
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery display notes.
Once more, on the brink of a deadline for Britain to leave the European Union, teetering there on the precipice, barely held from toppling by parliamentarians demanding scrutiny of the executive, more than a million people gathered from across the country in Parliament Square to strengthen the hand of democracy.
For democracy does not rest simply in a single vote: the plebiscite can be the tool of the rulers, who control the information and who deceive, reward and punish at will. Democracy sits also within Human Rights, the Rule of Law and public scrutiny, available to all and applying to all.
Boris Johnson is the man of our times: a self-invented shell of a person, without principle, whose sole purpose is to rule. He believes himself a Man of Destiny, a second Churchill in his own mind. If you believe that history pivots on the actions of strong or catastrophic individuals, this may prove to be one such time.
Perhaps, in this time, we are coming to an end of a beginning. We may split first from Europe, then disintegrate to petty nation states, ruled covertly by corporations and led by minor potentates for whom a never-ending quarrel with neighbours serves to distract the populace from poverty, the burning atmosphere and rising waves.
The EU is a means, not an end in itself. Our real task is building a community, binding together peoples and nations, re-purposed away from supporting privilege, as a tool for social justice and environmental action.
By chance, in Piccadilly, I found myself in a small part of Yorkshire, with a white rose flag and a song book.