I’m a bit wary about introducing political themes into miniature-painting – partly because politics can prove deeply divisive; but also due to the question of taste.
However, I usually paint models in order to escape from the more unpleasant aspects of life – and these are in no short supply at present; but some things which are happening maybe shouldn’t be overlooked.
There have been proper artists who’ve used miniatures to explore serious themes – such as Jake and Dinos Chapman‘s various depictions of hell; Banksy’s Dismaland model of a crowded refugee boat; or street artists, creating comparatively light-hearted social commentaries.
This isn’t quite what I have in mind. I don’t really want to use Warhammer models allegorically; just to allude at a broader issue, in order to enhance a diorama. I figure that as long as the theme remains understated, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, rather than model a duel where violence is the central subject, I thought I would make a representation of courage, instead.
So, one model is an undead horseman, with a distinctive head of unnatural hair; aiming to make the land of the dead glorious once more:
The other is going to be an Arabian woman:
Araby remains under-represented among Warhammer projects – but I prefer the ambiguous artwork depictions Games Workshop produced, to the Dogs of War/Warmaster models; which tended to be a bit Disney-esque. I don’t want the finished model to resemble the more obnoxious, long-standing stereotypes surrounding Arabs and Muslims; but equally, not to be overly romantic, either. While the motifs of femininity and Islamic culture have obvious points of resonance at present, this is still meant to be a Warhammer project.
The Golden Magus in Dreadfleet is a good example to draw upon here – as he was both on the side of the Grand Alliance; but also a character with mysterious intentions. Less esoteric, perhaps, are Kay Nielsen’s illustrations of 1001 Arabian Nights; which were fantastical and ornate:
I haven’t quite figured-out a base for this duel yet. A desert wasteland-theme seems the most fitting; but we will see.