Heracles and Antaeus 2008 , Oil on canvas, 39 x 51 in. / 99 x 97 cm.
The giant Antaeus, son of Poseidon, god of the oceans and Gaia, goddess of the Earth, was king of the Libyan desert. He challenged all that passed through his domains to wrestle with him. He was invincible as long as he remained in contact with his mother, Gaia, the Earth. So he killed all his opponents by forcing them to the ground and then cutting off their heads. With the sculls he decorated a temple to his father.
When Heracles was passing through his lands, Antaeus challenged him to a duel. The Greek hero, as always was advised by his protectress, goddess Athena. During their combat, he lifted the Libyan in the air, depriving him of strength and crushed him to death.
What happens to a tree, a country or a man when they’re cut off their roots – they die. Ancient myths are eternally new.
History comes back constantly – the stories that were in the news many centuries ago are in the news again. The eternal war between Occident and Orient, East and West is a historical constant. Wars in Syria and Libya is just one example. This painting was finished years before they happened.
*Dubai skyline with the Burj tower in the background.