The portraits depict about a dozen women who smuggled in bombs during the Algerian War of Independence 60 years ago, a time when Algerian nationalists were blowing up cafes in a campaign to expel French colonialists from their country.
“The women in the paintings killed people,” Asad Faulwell said, noting the contradictory feelings that the portraits evoke. “They killed civilians in the name of freeing themselves from colonialism. They then went through hell themselves. They were tortured by the French soldiers. They were ostracized by their own countrymen. They are victims, aggressors, killers. My interest was in the moral ambiguity of the whole thing.”
Eight of Faulwell’s new paintings can be seen through July 7 in “Phantom” at Denk gallery in downtown Los Angeles. It’s the artist’s first hometown solo show in 10 years.