Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2006

Artist pays tribute to late leader, while fighting Arab stereotypes

Shared love of horses inspired piece

April 13, 2006


Most Americans have never heard of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum of Dubai. And most people from Dubai have never heard of Lawrence artist Stan Herd.

But all that is about to change.

Herd, known for his giant crop portraits, has created a new piece of art: a two-acre depiction of the sheikh, the former leader of the United Arab Emirates.

Herd said he was inspired by a shared love of thoroughbred horses, plus the recent anger in the U.S. over plans to turn port security over to a Dubai-based company.

"We don't know any Arab people. We know Osama bin Laden; we know the terrorists," Herd said Wednesday. "My thinking is it might make sense for us to make common cause with Arab leaders who are reaching out to us."

Earthwork artist Stan Herd plows a two-acre portrait of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, of the United Arab Emirates, who died in January. The artwork, just outside of Lawrence, was created by the manipulation of soybean stubble and plowed earth with the addition of crushed limestone, wood chips and sunflower seeds.

Earthwork artist Stan Herd plows a two-acre portrait of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum, of the United Arab Emirates, who died in January. The artwork, just outside of Lawrence, was created by the manipulation of soybean stubble and plowed earth with the addition of crushed limestone, wood chips and sunflower seeds.

The portrait was scratched out of soybean stubble, plowed earth, crushed limestone, woodchips and sunflower seeds on land, south of Kansas Highway 10, owned by the Pendleton family.

The farm's customers haven't seen the portrait, John Pendleton said.

"It's hard to believe that, when you step back to an aerial perspective, the subtle shapes and textures come alive," he said of the artwork.

Sheikh Maktoum, vice president of the U.A.E. and ruler of Dubai, died in January. The U.A.E. is composed of seven emirates, including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm al-Qaiwain, Ras al-Khaimah and Fujairah. The emirates are in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Outside Dubai, Maktoum may be best known as one of the owners of Godolphin Stables, one of the world's pre-eminent thoroughbred racing horse farms.

Herd said horses owned by his family shared common bloodlines with Maktoum family horses. The Maktoums have been raising horses for 15 generations; Herd said his grandfather started his family tradition of raising horses.

"It's a tribute to the tie between these two families," Herd said of the portrait.

The work was not done on commission, Herd said.

"Every time I do an image, I'm hopeful it's seen and people take notice," Herd said.

Stan Herd says that the portrait of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum is a tribute to the former leader of Dubai, who Herd says tried to reach an accord with the western world through breeding and racing horses.

Stan Herd says that the portrait of Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid al-Maktoum is a tribute to the former leader of Dubai, who Herd says tried to reach an accord with the western world through breeding and racing horses.

And notice has been served. Herd said he received a call Tuesday from a Dubai-based reporter. Officials with the U.A.E. embassy in Washington, D.C., though, said Wednesday they hadn't heard of the portrait - but asked the Journal-World to send a photo of Herd's efforts.

Herd's love of horses is taking on several different forms. He is also part of a group planning an 800-mile race between New Mexico and Kansas City - The Great Santa Fe Trail Horse Race - in September 2007.

He knows Americans might not understand his crop tribute to the sheikh.

"That's the whole point of it," he said, adding, "I think there's definitely an anti-Arab bias in this country.

"It's hard for me to side with our president about anything," Herd said of the Dubai ports deal, "but on this issue I have to."


neopolss 11 years ago

There's definately a bias in this nation. I like the work. I hope it gets some natinal attention.

Rhoen 11 years ago

Nevertheless - as President Bush discovered when he wanted to selectively factor out of "the axis of evil" the United Arab Emirates for some schmoozing on the port-management deal - he and the media have already set in place a very well constructed, monolithic stereotype of the Arab people.

Can't have it both ways. The American People can either stereotype all Arabs and Muslims as the enemy and thus be manageable via the Patriot Act, OR they can see the Arab / Islamic world as a unique collection of individuals and cultures, some good and some less good.

This project has the potential of raising the agricultural activity of burning off the crops to an art form. Maybe that's the point though.

christie 11 years ago

Not all Muslims are terrorists. But all terrorists seem to be Muslims.

If you pubish a cartoon of them they go nuts. But blowing up 100 people at a time in a Mosque is just peachy.

I'm not sure I want to know anymore about them.

Linda Aikins 11 years ago

Nice job again Stan! Your family must be so proud!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

So Tim McVea was a muslim? I didn't know that, christie.

sunflower_sue 11 years ago

I once had the opportunity to be "grunt labor" for Stan Hurd. However, since I had just given birth two weeks earlier, I decided I'd better opt out. I did load up the babe and go out to the field he was working in at the time. It was interesting to see the progress.

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

Once again, its all about American's understanding someone else. How about we get some equal stereotype breaking regarding American's from leaders in the muslim world.

Somehow its our fault 3,000 American's were killed on 9/11 because American's have the sterotype problem.

I'm sorry, but when 9/11 happens, and especially when there is no strong condemnation from leaders of that religion, then the stereotype is unfortunately reinforced.

Let's get some proof in the pudding by having some muslim leaders stand-up and renounce terroism, then we'll talk about stereotypes.

It's time this idea that American's are somehow at fault for terrorist actions because we have stereotyped them be tossed into the historical trash bin of bad ideas.

magnificentbastard 11 years ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years ago

Well, rational, perhaps you should keep in mind that the muslims aren't in the US occupying it, extracting its natural resources and sending them to the middle east, and dropping bombs by the plane-load.

Yes, perhaps they do need to understand us everyday Americans better.

But they are easily as distracted by the everyday violence by America right in their home towns as we have been of the one-day occurrence the vast majority of us only know from the videos we saw.

Newport 11 years ago

Stan is amazing. I think this is a wonderful way to try and break down barriers. Chastising an entire group of people because of a few is so easy to do, but to allow education and acceptance to come through is the more humane thing to do. I applaud his efforts and I do hope a lot of attention is drawn to this.

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

The qualitative difference is that the muslim world is being overtaken, or overtaken, by radicalism aimed towards a facist overthrough of all other countries and religions, specifically the West. Muslim terrorists killed 3,000 innocent men, women and children on 9/11 without being provoked. Unless you subscribe to the point we provoked them and therefore they were justified in their actions.

I don't disagree America uses natural resources in other countries, but I am confident this doesn't justify a massive attack on innocent civilians.

The point is, arabs don't separate religion from, well anything. Example, muslim law is the overwhelming majority in countries dominated by muslims. Muslim law is rooted in the muslim religion, or as it is interpreted by the religious leaders. I reiterate my point again, lets hear from some major muslim leaders (who lead their governments) denounce terroism as a part of the muslim faith, then let's talk about stereotypes. The lack of such a measure demonstrates muslims really don't care what stereotypes American's have of them. If this is the case, then our subscribing to the aparitional argument that we somehow don't understand the class of people harboring our enemies will then only serve to cloud our judgment as to who our enemies are. That, is a very dangerous state of mind to have.

lunacydetector 11 years ago

i wonder if this guy would've been involved in the ownership of the now defunct dubai ports terminal management deal. would it have been better having them run it or the people's republic of china?

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

Unequivocally, the Dubai deal was the Titanic headed towards an iceberg. Bad idea in the first place, good outcome in the end. Surprised? Your comment exposes your own tendency to view the world through a stereotyped window. I am amenable to your addressing the substance of what I said. Incidentally, why do you think I'm a guy, women can make arguments to.

magnificentbastard 11 years ago

"lets hear from some major muslim leaders"

Um, they all denounced 9-11. Not that you'd know.

Confrontation 11 years ago

Christie: I sure hope you aren't raising any children. I'd hate for them to turn out as unintelligent as you. Pick up some books. Read about the Christian terrorists. Then, go back to church and continue denying everything.

Linda Aikins 11 years ago

The Tellers thing was a long time ago, and the man does have bills to pay! Remember what he did in NYC on Trump Plaza? Did you know that he received no money for that? Nor does he for most of his works.

I can't handle his things being called garbage - sorry.

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

If major muslim leaders denounced 9/11 it was in a tea cup. How about Al Jazeera where it would really count? Notably, pretty sure the current Iyatollah of Iran didn't.

Rationalanimal 11 years ago

Can anyone make a substantive argument instead of playground insults?

Ragingbear 11 years ago

This article is offensive. I say we have a Jihad against Family Guy.

magnificentbastard 11 years ago

"If major muslim leaders denounced 9/11 it was in a tea cup"

How would you know? If they did everything you wanted you still wouldn't hear them. Fortunately they, like me aren't concerned enough about your opinion to alter their behavior because they know that you and all the vermin like you ultimately don't matter and are cowards that are only good at kicking and screaming when someone doesn't do exactly what you want. You people are pathetic.

Linda Aikins 11 years ago

Hey- I'm not pathetic! Nor am I the "vermin".

Danielle Brunin 11 years ago

I would just like to point out that not all Muslims are Arabs and not all Arabs are Muslim. There are Arab Christians and Arab Jews (in Israel and North Africa). There are more Muslims in Indonesia than in any other country in the world. Of all the Muslims in the world, the Middle East contains a relatively small proportion of them.

Also, everyone makes it sound as though there are no Muslims in this country. There are about 8 million of them, myself included. I assure you that every Muslim that I know personally, American or not, was devastated by 9/11. Many Muslims were killed on 9/11 as the U.S. prosecutors at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui will attest to. Many Muslims victims or their families took the witness stand this week. There were numerous instances of denunciations after 9/11 by Muslims, but they were drowned out because of the scope of the tragedy. Do a little research; just because it wasn't broadcast in the mainstream doesn't mean that it didn't happen.

magnificentbastard 11 years ago

"Magnificentbasher, I'm with Rationalanimal."


weterica 11 years ago

"Muslim terrorists killed 3,000 innocent men, women and children on 9/11 without being provoked."

EXACTLY! And our government never kills innocent people, plain and simple, and that is why we are just.

Well, I guess sometimes, but if we do there is definite moral justification, of course, just like in the current Iraq war. Sadaam killed lots of innocent people, so we had to kill lots of innocent people to take that innocent-people-killer down!

And, the big difference is we didn't mean to kill the innocent people like the terrorist, so that makes it better. If only those idiots over there would understand that they might relax a bit and just take their losses as the messiness of democracy! They are so touchy when tens of thousands of people die--jeez. What is their deal? Maybe if they became Christian they wouldn't take a few thousand deaths so seriously.

pelliott 11 years ago

Thanks to Stan and the Pendletons, a little spark of life in Kansas. It takes courage. I have always been so proud of being from Kansas, in my youth my dad would take us kids with him as he worked in the different Kansas towns. I found thinkers, artists, kindness in every town. My dad would hear of somone doing something and seek them out. I also heard the hardchewers chat with hatred about outsiders, my father usually said those were the drunks. He just thought anyone who didn't take the time to think and care were drunks. He was wrong, i am sure a lot of them were sober, just lazy and lived on hate. I found the hard working men and women amazing, and will remember them all my life. The art of the front yard flower bed as a gift to all that pass is somehow in the thoughtful expression of Stan's amazing art. I guess I should thank my dad too.

Celeste Plitz 11 years ago

Great piece of art Stan!! I think that if more people were willing to look past the "bad apples" in a group, they'd find that the majority of people are decent, hardworking folks who just try to live the best they can in their circumstances. We're all the same, really. Muslim, Christian, there are good and bad in both groups. I try to look past the bad and realize that I can't let the extremists color my perception of an entire group of people that numbers in the millions! There are terrorists in every group. There are wonderful, generous, good people in every group. We need to remember that and not just judge or hate blindly. The wonderful, generous, good people outnumber the terrorists by a huge margin-you just never hear about them because those people live quiet lives, and don't blow people up to get themselves on the nightly news.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.