herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Ouch! Enda gets spanked in the arts in Merkel spoof

Putin sketch. Photo: Reuters
Putin sketch. Photo: Reuters

A PAINTING of Enda Kenny with his trousers around his ankles getting a spanking by a dominatrix-style Angela Merkel has drawn plenty of smiles at a Dublin art gallery.

And the Dublin artist who created it feels no need to flee the country – unlike his Russian counterpart, who is on the run from authorities there for his sketch showing President Vladimir Putin in a negligee combing the hair of prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, in knickers and a bra.

Sympathy

Glasnevin native Ray Sherlock said he wasn't a bit nervous when his work of Kenny and Merkel first went on display in the Balla Ban art gallery in Dublin's Westbury Mall.

He feels sympathy for Russian Konstantin Altunin, who is now in France after his controversial painting was seized from a St Petersburg gallery on Tuesday.

"It's Russia going back to the bad old days of the gulag and Stern control. Thank God we don't have that here – yet," smiled Sherlock.

He got the inspiration for his work when Kenny successfully secured a commitment last year from the German chancellor that the Irish case for relief on our gigantic bank debt was indeed a "special" case.

"He had said that Ireland deserved 'special treatment' and that's what got me thinking about this caricature," Ray told The Herald.

The caption over Enda in the watercolour reads "Frau Merkel, ich bin ein bad bad boy!" with Merkel responding "Achtung Herr Enda, I must gif you ze special treatment!".

Popular

The original work was sold for €275 to a person that gallery owner Frank O'Dea said has "an interest in politics but is not a politician".

"We have prints in stock now for €60 and they are proving very popular among natives and tourists, especially the Germans," Mr O'Dea said.

"The Germans say they have never seen Angela Merkel in this light before, and that they see her as a 'mammy' figure," Mr Sherlock added.

Ray's work is not the first time that a satirical painting has been displayed in a Dublin gallery, but the reaction from former Taoiseach Brian Cowen when a portrait of him sitting naked on a toilet caused a storm in Government circles in 2009.

In March that year paintings of Cowen were put on display without permission in the National Gallery of Ireland and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA) gallery.

In one, Brian Cowen was depicted holding his underpants in one hand, and a toilet roll in the other.

The stunt was reported to gardai, and Mr Cowen made a complaint to RTE for displaying the paintings on a TV news report.

RTE apologised for the report, leading then opposition leader Enda Kenny to accuse RTE of bowing to political pressure and making a "grovelling apology".

"I just think it's an exhibition by the Government of an intention to restrict what is freedom of expression," he said at the time.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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