Well, its that time of year again...Time to start preparing art for the Maine Peace Walk, which begins October 13th and runs through to the 21st. I volunteered to again paint a 6 x 8 foot banner for the walk which will be hung on the side of the walk support van. The theme (and title) of this year's walk is: Maine Peace Walk for Conversion, Community, and Climate. This year's walk will be a little different from past Peace Walks, as instead of walking from Point A to Point B, we will be staying (and doing a lot of walking) around Bath, Maine. Why? Because Bath is home to General Dynamic's Bath Iron Works (BIW), makers of weapons of mass destruction for the US Navy.
Here is BIW as seen from the bridge as one crosses over the Kennebec River into Bath on Rt. 1. You can see a Zumwalt, a new class of Navy stealth destroyer, being worked on to the left, and a more conventional Aegis destroyer on the right.
Here you see a closer view of the Zumwalt destroyer. With development costs factored in, each Zumwalt costs around 7 Billion (thats right) dollar$.
And the Zumwalt's intended use as envisioned by an illustrator....War-making. But like the Aegis destroyer, its victims will by no means be limited to human beings...
Whales, dolphins, and other ocean life are also paying for the US and other government's militarism, sometimes with their lives. The photo above was taken of a mass stranding caused by naval sonar in Crete of at least 6 beaked whales following the Nato exercise Operation Noble Dina 2014, involving the Israeli, Greek, and US navies.
Right now, Bath, like so many other communities across the US, is dependent on military production for endless war. In fact, America's #1 industrial export is weapons. Instead of producing war ships for ever more wars which threaten the continued existence of most of life on this planet, the people of Maine could instead create life-affirming products such as public transportation systems and environmentally responsible renewable energy systems. Studies show that conversion to this kind of production would create more skilled jobs than does war production. It would be good for our communities (human and non-human alike), and good for the climate (The US military having the world's largest carbon bootprint on the planet)...In short, it would be good for us all! I hope that my drawing above gets these ideas across...it will be printed on this year's Walk sweatshirts. But back to the banner....
A color sketch I did for the banner design. Similar to the sweatshirt design, but horizontally oriented.
The paint mixing bench...
And a view of the painting in progress.The bright yellow color will work well as a background for the text, as it will make the words stand out clearly...
But I really chose that color in honor of the people of Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island, South Korea, and their supporters, who have been daily resisting for over 10 years now, the construction and operation of a navy base built to US Navy specs, at which US warships have, and will continue to be ported, including the USS Dewey pictured above, and built right here at BIW in Bath, Maine! As you can see in the photos above, bright yellow is the color of the many flags, banners, and shirts used by the people in Gangjeong in their resistance to that base, and militarism in general. So, I use it in this banner in honor of them, and in gratitude for the inspiration they have given me and so many others.
A closer view of the destroyer....And now, seeing as I have a ways to go to complete this banner, I had better get back into the studio and get on with the painting! More on the banner later...