Original Oil Painting on Canvas


By Helen Norton

150 x 120 cm

2012 Prosperity

“The Embassy” was one of the works from the “2012 Prosperity Series”.


I had previously explored a similar theme in a painting in 1997 titled “The New World Order” where a motley group of world leaders huddled around a long table seeming to be sharing their visions for the future of the world.  What I wanted to emphasise is the personal psychopathology of those leaders by extending their possible characters to the point that they manifested almost as animal spirits (or disturbed gods).

Studies into the many gods of early Greek and Roman mythology gave me a deeper understanding as to how those stories were carved out to reflect the many bizarre natures of human beings.  The ‘gods that be’ are we. Our differences portrayed as the archetypal qualities we all possess depending on our typology.  Some of us are doves; some behave as warriors, some as saviours, some are puppets to do others bidding, some pull the strings behind the scenes, and others as kings and so on.

Why would those in positions of power and authority be any different?  It is a frightening thought. Yet, perhaps that human nature itself might be what saves us from crazed generals and psychopathic egoists sitting in unelected (and elected) seats. Will someone step forward? It’s a gamble, like the platter of bombs in the middle of the table in the painting.  Unlike “The New World Order”, in this work, we have moved on technologically with how we destroy the world and threaten each other. Each participant has an Ipad, and ‘the red line’ (red buttons) are abounding. Who will decide; who will trigger it, and who will stand up for common sense, if anyone? 

Some of the characters at the table are:- a blindfolded man, possibly Hillary, a mad mullah, a king being manipulated by a propaganda beast above him, a hooded monk with a wheel of life at his side, a crazy Saudi with his hand up a bunny puppet, an executive donning a crocodile mask, a Turk in a fez, a small jihad child, possibly Janet Yellen, a man using a prop (naked barbie doll) to try to distract the ape – reaching over someone who cannot bear to look, a mad general gaining orgasmic pleasure from the possibility of war, a man establishing his masculinity with a set of horns and a few beasts of burden to add a certain smell to the room.

I could dissect each character, and in my mind have done so as I painted them as they are not there for no reason, but even naming them, visualising them says it all.  These are the representatives of our future.

Therefore, I conclude that we must enjoy life outside their influence as much as we can and give them the middle finger by painting them as they probably are!


Helen Norton