RECENT ALUMNI: Bogaert, Tom
Tom Bogaert documented genocide and human rights abuses in Africa and Asia for fourteen years for Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Four years ago, he resigned to become an artist.
The artist does not see his artwork as an extension of his human rights work, though it directly confronts the intersection of human rights, entertainment and propaganda. Bogaert is operating, to the best of his abilities, squarely within the tradition of (political) art and aiming a mostly complacent contemporary art audience. He has no formal art training. The entertainment components of his work are not necessarily to be trusted at face value.
Bogaert offers us a strongly uncomfortable mixture of tragedy and farce. On the one hand, he takes on immensely difficult subjects, including the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, in which as many as 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and their moderate Hutu sympathizers were killed. Then, there are the astronaut canaries...