Oil on BoardGold Is Precious, Life Is Cheap, 202141cm x 61cm

Gold is a rare noble metal requiring an inordinate amount of energy to extract. Valued for its beauty, longevity and workability it was used to decorate statues, great buildings and works of art. Now it’s hoarded by the wealthy for its intrinsic value rather than its beauty and workability and governments, banks and investors continue to reinforce the story that gold will secure power for those who can afford it. Even though we know that 99% of the ore extracted is released as waste and that this waste is highly toxic containing heavy metals such as mercury, cyanide, cadmium, lead. Even though we know that 20 tons to this waste is dumped directly into the rivers and streams for each 0.333 ounces of gold and that these waterways are used by the local population. Even though our currencies are no longer measured against the gold standard and the choice of suitable materials is endless. Even with all our knowledge we still encourage the accumulation of this noble metal which comes at a greater and greater cost to human life. So is gold more precious than life? Maybe it depends on who you ask.