There is one simple way
for the United states to decrease very significantly, the plague of terror in the world, and that is just to stop supporting and participating in it.

  Politics and Art
make controversial bedfellows and never more so since 911.  One of the brightest examples I've seen is 'Suicide Bomber Barbie' by British artist Simon Tyszko.
  Sunday 4 August 2002

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Bombshell: The Many Faces of Women Terrorists Mia bloom







London institute of contemporary arts august 2002

Simon Tyszko’s Suicide Bomber Barbie conflates Western commodification with Palestinian desperation. Religious and capitalist dogmas struggle within Barbie’s idealised form, in an artwork of potent incongruity. It is a work whose political stridency is tempered by a well placed humour.

Tyszko’s work might be described as being in the tradition of the long lost art of agitprop. ‘Capitalism defeats dissent and revolution’ Tyszko says, ‘not through direct confrontation, but through commodification.It sells back at a profit the signs, styles and symbols of revolution.’

By his appropriation of a consumerist icon, the artist creates an emphatic subversion of this process, the artist seeking to help create the conditions of political change.
A recent interview with a nine year old Palestinian girl had her saying she had wanted to be a doctor, but could now no longer study or sleep at night, and now only wanted to be a martyr. Tyszko says of her that ‘she has effectively bought the notion of suicide bombing as a lifestyle choice – it has become aspirational, an off the shelf peer led option.’

Suicide Bomber Barbie draws attention to certain kinds of moral, emotional, and political equivalence, which uncomfortably exist within the nationalistic and political systems that contain them. That these systems are dysfunctional, goes without saying.


Some Press
The Observer Arts review
julie birchill in the Guardian
(Gilbert and George are for once left standing by a certain Simon Tyszko, the creator of one Suicide Bomber Barbie, recently on show,,,,,,,)
La Republica italia
the economist
Le Monde
Der Spiegel germany
The Guardian Guides
A global feminist blog

barbie-bag barbie-poster barbiedetail dynamicbarbie frontbarbie sideviewbarbie
accessories downloadable
bomb belt detail dynamic
fashionable classic

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Some recently spotted appropriations of the work in the USA, embedded on the packaging of some childrens modeling clay of dubious provenance.