As the race for presidency between Clinton and Trump wages on, former President-turned-painter, George W. Bush, is peacefully watching from behind the safety of a canvas. That’s right- after his two-terms as President, Bush Jr. decided he had enough of politics and turned to painting. This isn’t news; Bush has been painting landscapes, self-portraits (some nearly nude), portraits of pets and portraits of world leaders for a few years now. He even held an exhibit in 2014, entitled “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy”.
The real news is that Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors by George W. Bush is an art book that really exists, and it’s coming out on February 27th, 2017. Bush’s personal site describes the collection of work as “a vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans.”
Bush had been president for just nine months when the traumatic events of 9/11 occurred. Portraits of Courage focuses on the men and women who served in the military on behalf of the U.S. since 9/11. The site comments the men and women in uniform who “have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation.”
Bush intends the book of portraits to highlight the issues faced by veterans. Each painting is accompanied by a story, written by Bush, explaining the individual’s personal experience as a member of the U.S. military, post-9/11. Bush left the White House with one of the lowest approval rating of any president, ever, making him ripe for ridicule. However, a book of portraits of often neglected veterans is something that is certainly needed.
That being said, Carey Dunne, in her article, “Misunderestimated Painter George W. Bush is Releasing an Art Book”, points out; “paintings of prisoners held without trial at Guantanamo Bay, paintings of the millions of Americans who lost their homes during the 2008 financial crisis, or paintings of ‘the ghost of the Iraqi child that follows him everywhere,” are all absent from the art book. I guess you can’t have it all in one book.
Featured image courtesy of http://www.bushcenter.org/.