Walton Ford

Thanh Hoang, 1997 watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper 60×119 in.

Each of the five images in this exhibition is far more conceptually complex than a cursory glance suggests. Text entries in pencil, like a field-scientist’s notes, appear here and there around the beautifully drawn animals. In this rendering of an indochinese tiger, silhouettes of historical figures and politicians emerge from the black stripes of the animal: Ho Chi Minh, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Ngo Dinh Diem, Bao Dai, Madame Nhu… The theme is Vietnam, the war and its aftermath.

(text in upper left corner): Thanh hoang
getting stripes – A.D. 40 – 1997

(following are extracts from the text entries):
Within hours after the embargo was abolished a cold war broke out between Pepsi and Coke. Both giants were busy laying the groundwork for the eventual opening long before the trade sanctions were finally lifted. American Express also struck fast, signing an agreement with…

“Do you understand it now?” The tiger, straining with all his might and main, burst his bonds and fled away into the forest. But not before the part of his fur between the ropes had been burnt black. Ever since he has worn…

You can kill ten of my men for every one of yours I kill, but even at those odds you will lose and I will win.

If you can’t lie, you’ll never go anywhere.

I have tried to do my duty. I want to know what duty and good sense require. I believe in duty above all.

She is only plying her trade, I am the real whore.

I feel like a hitchhiker caught in a hailstorm on a Texas highway. I can’t run. I can’t hide. And I can’t make it stop.

Let them burn and we shall clap our hands.

Malu, 1998 watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper 60×119 in.

(text in upper left corner): Malu – Bapak’s unhappiness

(text running along bottom):
a. Javan Rhinoceros – Rhinoceros sondaicus  

Asal Bapak Lenang – Think of it as “the source of the father’s happiness” or “whatever makes the boss happy” Learning to speak and act in a pleasing manner.

b. Chinese Golden Pheasant – Chrysolophus pictus

Memojokan – This implies that a person has been put in a corner and there is no graceful way out nor easy exit, no way to save face in a…

c. European Starling – Sturnus Vulgaris

Malu – the condition of Malu is rendered loosely as loss of face or embarrassment. Stated more bluntly, to make someone malu is to strip the facade of status from him and expose his human imperfection. Thus it is possible to “do honour” by permitting someone to make a fool of himself, rather than risk the embarrassment of calling it to his attention.

d. Japanese Grosbeak – Eophona personata

…Taken months to gauge the magnitude of the problem in the face of opaque accounting and financial secrecy…have spent weeks denying the obvious.


Chingado, 1998 watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper 60×119 in.

The theme here is the peasant’s struggle in Chiapas, Mexico…

(text along upper right side): Chingado

Te approxima el fin de mundo – Las Profecias Te Crumplen!
Tremblones, Erupciones, Guerres, Pestes, Hambres, e Encendios.

…in unity there: Jaguar Quitze, Jaguar Night, Mahucutah, and True Jaguar. There was no sleep, no rest for them. They cried their hearts and their guts out, there at the dawning and clearing, and so they looked terrible. Great sorrow, great anguish came over them; they were marked by their pain. They just stayed that way.” -Popol Vuh.

Structural Adjustment

-Remove restrictions on foreign investments.
-Reorient the economy toward exports in order to earn the foreign exchange required for servicing the…(reduce diverse local production in favor of single-product manufacture or single crop agriculture)
-Reduce wages or wage increases to make exports more competitive.
Reduce government spending.
-Cut tariffs, quotas, and other restrictions on imports.
-Privatize state enterprise.

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