Given the disturbing events which have unfolded in Mumbai, as well as the overarching political issues with regard to religion and its’ interference with governing in the United States over the past eight years, the artwork by Al Farrow seems particularly relevant.
If you have ever been uneasy when visiting an ages old cathedral, synagogue or mosque (now tourist destination) in one of the major cities in Europe, Asia or even in the Americas; if contemporary religion concerning/disconcerting in the way that organized religion is applied as a means to exclude, kill and condemn so many innocents, perhaps this remarkable art work by San Francisco artist Al Farrow, may explain, comfort and perhaps even serve to express a contemporary perspective of the religious conviction which it represent.
A recent trip to Europe found me unnerved by the sensation that I was surrounded by walls filled with the ashes and bones of saints. Even more disquieting, is the realization that all of these massive monuments to gods and governments/regimes have become essentially meaningless tourist destinations, devoid of the understanding of the original use and intent of the construction. They now serve to generate revenue from the masses of vacationers who pour through the entrances daily, simply to gaze, gawk and examine in an oh so irreverent, if unintentional way.
Most recently Al Farrow exhibits this work at the De Young Museum in San Francisco. In the Name of God: War, Religion, and the Reliquaries of Al Farrow, is constructed from bullets and gun parts. An accomplished sculptor committed to recording societal ills through his artistic practice, Farrow often approaches his work by adopting the visual language of a historical period and updating the imagery or materials to make cogent observations about contemporary society.