suit copy

I am an artist and activist, documenting the secretive global trade in military equipment by drawing undercover in arms fairs.  I get inside these events by masquerading as an arms dealer, wearing a suit and paste pearls, and representing a sham company.  When a cover ceases to work, I invent another.  

I am not the only one pretending.  Arms fairs are trade shows where tanks, guns, missiles and tear gas are promoted to repressive regimes and unstable states.  Arms companies based in the UK and USA are currently selling weapons to Saudi Arabia while it bombs civilians in Yemen. Yet, this is described as the 'defence' industry. The arms trade is shrouded in respectability - bombs sit alongside flowers, a string quartet plays Mozart on the back of a military truck, deals are agreed with champagne and canapés. How to draw this?  The impossibility of the task keeps bringing me back. 

I draw in concertina sketchbooks - they are small enough to be discrete, but can be opened out as tableaux.  This website includes a selection of them.