George Gittoes defies categorisation as his life defies belief. One thing is certain: Gittoes is the greatest Australian hero working today and his epic story must be told.
Equal parts artist and warrior, George is world-famous for waging war on war with art, circus, photography and film. "Soldiers die for flags. For me it is art," he says.
George has been shot, stabbed, bombed, beaten, tortured, drowned and jailed. He has worked with Andy Warhol, dined with Fidel Castro, plotted with Julian Assange, been feted by Mandela, blessed by Mother Theresa, sneezed on by the Dalai Lama.
Blood Mystic begins with George flying back to Jalalabad carrying a letter from the Taliban threatening to chop off his head and show the decapitation on live TV. George's mission is to film with street kids in the most dangerous city on earth - the Ghostbuster street exorcists, the Snow Monkey ice cream boys, the urchin girls and kuchi kids, the child gangsters with razor blades under their lips.
As the danger grows, George reflects deeply on a life less ordinary - his boyhood being groomed as a gangster, his escape to New York, the Yellow House art revolutions, crazy brave adventures in outback Australia, ghetto America, jungle Nicaragua, war-torn Cambodia, badlands Baghdad, hollow Bosnia... and beyond.
About the Author
George Gittoes was born in Rockdale, NSW in 1949. After working with Andy Warhol and the Black Panthers in New York, he founded the Yellow House in Sydney with Martin Sharp. He has won many prizes for his painting - including twice being awarded the Blake Prize for Religious Art. Gittoes' acclaimed documentaries include Bullets of the Poets (1986), Soundtrack to War (2004), Rampage (2006) and Micreants of Taliwood (2007). All the while he has exhibiting his paintings and campaigned for peace around the world. George is the father of two children, Harley and Naomi, and lives in Sydney with his partner Hellen.
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I wish that I had read this, before visiting the exhibition of his paintings so as to have some depth of understanding about the images. Having visited some of these places in less turbulent times, it made very interesting reading for me. An interesting Character who doesn't fit any regular description - unique on many levels.
If you know about George Gittoes' work in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and appreciate his art (or even if you don't), you will find this book valuable. It's his own work, a memoir of sorts, but full of his artwork and photographs. There are some necessarily distressing photographs and paintings and drawings because he goes into areas where distressing things happen. It is important and extraordinary work and this book is a fantastic record of such.
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 25th October 2016
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 18.0 x 3.0
Weight (kg): 0.3