Justice Art: ‘There’s no Justice, there is just us’ as police spank Lady Justice ….

 

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Irish Street Art today from Dublin’s provocative ‘underground’ artist ADW. Loving his urban art in the riot police spanking blind Lady Justice. Unfortunately this particular image had to be removed from the wall as it offended the local police, the GARDA, a story spoken about in Vanilla Spanking

In August 2012, as part of the annual Tall Ships Race, over a hundred classic sailing ships arrived in Dublin, and Dublin celebrated with a four-day festival featuring invited contributions from significant contemporary Irish artists. Among those asked to take part was the urban street artist known as ADW, who works with spray paint and stencils to create his images on city walls. Graffiti, which was once frowned upon, is now a recognized art form – but this time ADW’s picture got him into trouble…

 

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Irish Street Art

ADW in Broadsheet:

“This was the image deemed unfit for human consumption at the Kings [Kings of Concrete at the Tall Ships festival in Dublin dockside] yesterday. It’s title ‘there’s no Justice, there is just us’ featured the lady of justice bent over a riot policeman’s knee getting spanked. The Guards took a serious exception to the piece of artwork and it was regrettably removed…Freedom of expression? Pussy Riots?”

 

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ADW in Respect

I originally created the piece to reflect all ‘policing’ forces and the increasing militarisation of these forces employed to uphold the law. I guess the piece was born during the worldwide Occupy movements and the savage handling of the protesters. But the motivations dates back further for me and I often think about the unjust killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, who was mistaken by British police to be a terrorist and shot 8-times in the head at point blank range. The title ‘There is no justice, there’s just us’, was given to me by a friend fit perfectly. So, armed with a history of excessive police force, violence, cover-ups and corruption I set about creating the piece. (Read more here)

 

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From the astonishing FEMEN sexual harassment demo of 2009 to the anti-censorship Manchester ‘Spankathon’ of 2015, spanking imagery is often used for public political protest, but ADW’s mural for the Tall Ships Festival went further than those. Lady Justice was not only being spanked, but spanked on her bare bottom – and that was unfortunate not only for her but for ADW too… (Vanilla Spanking)

 

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Looks familiar? Of course it does: it’s based on Birney Lettick’s legendary ‘Back to School’ cover painting for the September 1975 issue of National Lampoon.

Nothing wrong with that: for centuries, artists have adapted from other artists when they didn’t have live models to work with (we’ll look at some more examples another time), and what ADW did with his source material amounted to a new artwork. It was snapped up by the underground magazine Rabble, which published it as a center spread, and ADW later redid it as a piece of ‘indoor’ art on cardboard, and as a litho print with a limited edition of 80 pieces. (Vanilla Spanking)

 adw[1]ADW’s ‘Stensual’

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ADW on Lá Fhéile Pádraig

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