The Winter War (1939)
A chance to learn from history: Invasions of sovereign states often don’t go as planned. These images, painted and drawn between 2005 and 2015, are reflections on the Winter War when Stalin invaded Finland in 1939.
The source material for this body of work is archival photos of soldiers fighting in The Winter War (1930-1940) and images of ruins of the once mighty fortifications of the Mannerheim Line, built to protect Finland from the advances of the Soviet military avant-garde. The work reflects on how humans attempt to introduce a type of safety and bulwark against hostility, violence, mayhem and terror. And how nature ultimately reclaims these attempts.
It was a brutal battle, fought in the bitter cold. The Finns invented the Molotov cocktail to hold off their much larger and better equipped enemy. While the Winter War lasted only 105 days, it was tragic and futile. Revised estimates of the number of dead are close to 100,000, but may have been much higher. The Red Army and the League of Nations were humiliated and Finland ceded 11% of their territory to the Soviet Union. Perhaps most tragically, the powerlessness of the international community in the face of Soviet demands and actions, along with the disorganization with which the war was fought, may have emboldened Hitler and encouraged his belief that his army could attack and subdue the USSR.