Weapon of Mass Deception

Place Middle East: Iraq
Accession Number ART94635
Collection type Art
Measurement 79.8 x 73.8 x 31.2 cm
Object type Sculpture
Physical description Felted wool, bronze, stoneware, collected objects
Maker Larkin, Anita
Place made Australia: New South Wales
Date made 2012
Conflict Iraq, 2003-2013

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Anita Larkin's sculpture, 'Weapon of Mass Deception' (2012), in the shape of both a gun and a loudhailer makes reference to the War in Iraq and the 'accusation that weapons of mass destruction existed within Iraq'. Broadcast with such fanfare to an international audience, many believed it to be true. Weapon of Mass Deception' was included amongst the finalists of the 2012 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. The sculptural possibilities of making assemblages using collected objects, combined with handmade felt, are the main focus of her studio practice. Of the sculpture 'Weapon of Mass Deception' (2012) Larkin noted; ' This improbable object is simultaneously a gun and a loudhailer&speech can be used as a weapon to begin conflict. People, both civilians and combatants [in Iraq] have become bullets in the handle of the weapon. Felt is a nomadic material that has the ability to insulate sound. It is a material of travel, of isolation, of primal humanity, with spiritual warmth to it'. Although her sculptures have an 'inherent theatricality' and quirkiness, they are underpinned by strong craftsmanship in her choice of materials, particularly hand-made felt, and sophisticated narratives, blurring fiction and reality. 'Weapon of Mass Deception' at first appears toy-like and sentimental, before the underlying political and social fate of the people of Iraq is revealed. Its subtle comment on ancient civilisations, in this case Iraq, is cleverly interwoven in the work. Larkin states; 'I transform the collected object into sculptures evoking a human narrative, revealing a strange beauty within the forgotten and discarded. The works display a wry sense of wit&but have an element of the tragic or post-apocalyptic about them'. Larkin's contemporary sculpture provides an important reflection upon the Second War in Iraq (2003-2011) particularly the hysteria and deception for political ends surrounding the ruse of 'weapons of mass destruction'. Her whimsical sculptures belie a more serious investigation into humanity and fate. With 'Weapon of Mass Deception' it is the fate of the Iraqi people during the Second War in Iraq that piques her interest.

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