Artist Luelan Bodden is not one to shy away from confrontational work.
His latest painting, known as 2012, is a prime example, pushing images of poverty, hunger, earthquake and apocalypse toward the viewer. Its prime colours and pull-no-punches imagery make it an unsettling experience.
Luelan says that actually the work is sixteen paintings in one.
“It’s called 2012 because of the end of the Mayan calendar. I was stimulated by the calendar. A lot of the events in the painting have already happened; there is nothing new.
“2012 can be for anybody at any time. It could be right now for me. In Revelations in the Bible it mentioned that a storm of fire will be coming out the sky. For that to happen you have to have strong flares from the sun. And NASA said about two or three years ago that we have strong flares. It only takes one of those flares to wipe us out completely,” he says.
Another worry is gamma rays from nearby stars, which he says will wipe us out quickly without anyone being aware of it.
“There’s stars about five light years away which could send a gamma ray,” adds Luelan.
So far, the painting – currently part of an art show in Camana Bay – has engendered a strong response from people.
“Some do not like to face the reality of everything; they like things to be plain and simple so there is a shock value as they do not want to deal with it.
“They appreciate me painting it, I am known to be for shock value so they understand where I am coming from. You have to have a reaction to it. I have been to shows where two weeks later you have forgotten it. But I like to be in your mind all the time. When you see one of my paintings you will remember it for the next five years. That is what I tend to do. I wouldn’t put it on my wall – that piece is too strong – but for a museum it would work.”