warrior for love
Deeply rooted in our contradictory culture is the notion that you can actually “fight for peace” or wage a “battle for freedom” against another population, another religion, another mentality, or another region of the globe. Since the crusades, these contradictions have structured the cultural divide between East and West, shaping throughout colonial and post-colonial history the mentalities that unite and divide us.
Following Gandhi’s motto, “my life is my message,” Mia Florentine Weiss embarked on a trip to India to experience life on the streets there. As a “Warrior for Love” she poses here in the easily recognizable iconographic setting that ignited a tragic series of egregiously violent events: the crusades. The obvious heraldic imagery of the escutcheon traces the historical origins of her shield back to the late middle ages, and the same can be said of the design of her longsword. But these images are evoked only to be instantaneously deconstructed. The armour here is far less realistically depicted than stage props. While symbolically strong, the illuminated sword and shield are structurally weak—and militarily useless. And this fact is underscored by the message portrayed on them in the artist’s blood: “my body is my shield” and “my word is my sword”. The “Warrior for Love” thus rewrites the allusions it employs by disarming the imagery and the conflict it alludes to.
WARRIOR FOR LOVE - INDIA 2011