What is this imagery about?
This is a photo on one of the Black Widows,Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, aged 17 at the time of the metro attacks in Russia. The husband Umalat Magomedov had been killed by Russian special forces the year before in 2009. The widow joined the Black Widows, an underground Chechen guerrilla force to seek vengeance. Her attack killed 40 people and injured 100 other subway travellers in Moscow.
Why did you get inspired to paint this theme?
Well, I was going to originally do a painting on the Boston Bombings, but saw that attack as really a displaced anger of the historical battle between Russia and the Chechens. At that point I was drawn into this story of such a young couple drawn into a pact to fight for their country and die at such an early age of youth.
Why do you have “Wolverines” in the background?
One of the insights I had was that the 1984 movie “Red Dawn” used allusion to the growing Chechen wars against the Russians. In the movie, US youth retreat to the mountains to stage guerrilla warfare against a Russian/Cuban invasion of central United States during the Cold War. They used the high school logo of Wolverines as their guerrilla name spray painting after attacks.
In the Chechen wars, the Chechens would retreat from cities to the safety of the mountains and attack the Russians. In the mountains, the Russians would not be able to use tanks, but only helicopters and troops, similar to the movie “Red Dawn”
Why are the Chechens so vicious in their attacks?
If you look at how the Russians have treated the Chechens over the 200 years they have tried to rule the area, you would not be surprised. They repeatedly have rounded up Chechen men and have them executed in ethnic cleansing operations. Below are men about to be shot by Russian special forces.
Do you see the Chechens winning at some point?
Who knows? During the breakup of the USSR, Chechnya was independent for a short time. Then Russia invaded in the first Chechen War, which the Chechens won and declared full indepedence as the Republic of Ichekeria.
Later during the 2nd Chechen War, Russia succeeded in reconquering the territory under Putin’s bloody counter insurgency.
Why do you think Putin is obsessed with winning in Chechnya?
Besides Russia having conquered them for 200 years, it is kind of redemption of the losses in Afganistan in the 1980s. The US had a similar reaction fighting in Iraq War 1 getting over the ghosts of the lost war in Vietnam.
Is this available for purchase?
Yes, here is the link to Black Widow in the Garden Eden painting.
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