ARTIST:

Annie Kevans

Annie Kevans
Adolf Hitler, Germany, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans’ paintings depict an ideal of innocence – the doe-eyed, rosy-cheeked faces of young boys – in a palette and handling that are carefully chosen: colour is washed-out and delicate, the brush applied like the tender touch of a loved one. Yet the titles come as a shock: Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union. Adolf Hitler, Germany. Mao Zedong, China. These are the faces (some actual, some invented) of dictators as children.

Annie Kevans
Alexander Lukashenka, Belarus, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Their titles are premonitions: that child’s face isn’t “Adolf Hitler”, obviously; none of these children are Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao yet. The disjunction – what we know now, what we didn’t know then – calls the mind the old argument about going back in time to kill Hitler; but his soulful blue eyes brim with innocence: even Hitler was a child once. Kevans plays on our weakness for the apparent innocence of the young face, drawing on the Victorian idealisation of childhood still very much in vogue when many of these men were young. Those eyes – invariably the darkest, most substantial part of each painting – draw sympathy in a way a cartoon cat on a greetings card might; there’s a kitschy sentimentality to the paintings that runs deliberately at odds with their titles. Those dark eyes hold the viewer in place. Frozen like this, these children might never amount to anything.

Annie Kevans
Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguay, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Ante Pavelic, Croatia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Benito Mussolini, Italy, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Efrain Rios Montt, Guatemala, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Ferdinand Marcos, Philippines, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Francisco Franco, Spain, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Francois Duvalier, Haiti, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Hissene Habre, Chad, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Hugo Banzer, Bolivia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Humberto Branco, Brazil, 2004
Oil on paper
50 x 40 cm

Annie Kevans
Idi Amin, Uganda, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Ion Antonescu, Romania, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Jorge Rafael Videla, Argentina, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Joseph Stalin, Soviet Union, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Kim II Sung, North Korea, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Mao Zedong, China, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Mohamed Suharto, Indonesia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Ne Win, Burma, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Ngo Dinh Diem, Vietnam, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Pol Pot, Cambodia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Radovan Karadzic, Serbia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Saddam Hussein, Iraq, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Annie Kevans
Yasuhiko Asaka, Japan, 2004
Oil on paper
51 x 41 cm

Text by Ben Street
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