Inkjet on watercolour paper
90 x 60 centimetres
The theme of this print came to me after listening to a podcast about the Manson family who committed the murder of the actor Sharon Tate in 1969. The event shocked people at the time because the concept of a cult was relatively unknown and the mass suicide and murder of the Jonestown massacre, a decade later in 1978, confirmed the sinister implications of cult psychology. The scene depicted in Guru looks relatively benign, it could be a harmless therapy session or a lecture about spiritual matters until a symbol such as the golden throne, with its suggestion of power and dominance, is perceived as a subtext of the social transaction of the group. More disconcerting is the wall plaque above the guru, a cosmic head emanating golden rays from its third eye and the legend "I am your Shepherd" which appears like a brooding Big Brother figure scanning the proceedings in the room. The weird shape of the plaque is intended to imply distorted meaning or a thought bubble reflecting the guru's true agenda.
The women are young and innocent, ideal as recruits in a cult to satisfy the leader's sexual appetite and to attract men into the group, which was a strategy that Charles Manson used. The guru's collarless shirt and vest were chosen partly as a reference to priest's garb but more so as the type of clothing the wolf wears to mask his true purpose.Guru: Re-Imaginings on Youtube
Charles Manson's Hollywood: You Must Remember This podcast