The wild ancient child is the
innocent victim of history, a pawn.
His stare makes the viewer reexamine the scene. In Wildcat's painting,
the child in the center seems to appeal to the viewer for the humanity, the
love, the justice that this moment in history did not provide. What deadly
religious or ethnic dispute is here? This child was one who witnessed and
survived to tell the tale.
Nearly eighty years ago,
something happened in Turkey. The Turkish government, however, denies it to
In April of 1915 the Turkish
minister of interior issued a decree:
"The government has
decided to destroy completely all Armenians living in Turkey. An end must
be put to their existence, however criminal the measures taken may be. No
regard is to be paid to either age, sex nor to conscientious scruples.
-Talaat Paasha, Turkish Minister of the
A million and a half Armenians
were killed by the Turks. it was calculated policy. There were deportations,
and long marches. They crossed the Euphrates. There were extermination
camps. Many were burned alive in underground caves in Deir Zor, subterranean
No one protested. Orphans
survived to tell the tale, but not until much later.
Years later when Hitler planned
his "final solution" for the Jews, to convince is party leaders
that it could succeed, he asked them: "Who remembers the Armenians
If people had remembered the
Armenians, perhaps the Jewish holocaust would not have happened. This was a
hidden holocaust. We must respond to the child's appeal in the panting. The
orphans, the survivors of the massacres, saw the terrible things.
And yet as Wildcat's painting
tries to tell. against all odds, the people survived. The orphans lived to
tell the tale. The painting speaks of history's horror and hidden mystery,
and the viewer's responsibility when the child appeals to him, to determine
what is happening in life's drama.