Master of Puppets
42" x 72", Oil on Canvas
It would be simplicity itself for the puppeteer to pull them out of the sand, but he hasn’t...or won’t. Why? Where is the puppeteer? Off twisting minds and smashing dreams? This absence, combined with the puppets’ air of abandonment, implies a capricious master who simply lost interest in their toys and wandered off, distracted by the next thing, leaving these poor souls to their fate.
The uniformity of their buried heads, however, belies carelessness, speaks to a more deliberate act. What doesn’t the puppetmaster want them to see?
Who are these puppets? Did they bury their own heads? Did they have a choice - the method of their construct means they can only ever hang upside down, so is the head in the sand the default result of existence for them? What is it they are missing? Or, like the ostrich myth, have they seen something terrifying and buried their own heads, hoping the horror will pass them by - if they cannot see it, it doesn’t exist. What could be that bad, and why isn’t Peregrine Man similarly terror-struck?
Why has Peregrine Man walked past all these poor souls to free this one individual? Is it because this individual, alone among his fellows, is making an effort to free himself? Audentes deus ipse iuuat? Ovid would be proud.
Only one question remains - who freed Peregrine Man?