In Johnny Romeo’s intergalactic, Technicolor Pop future, even the most diabolical villains can abandon their evil ways and find spiritual enlightenment. Romeo takes this idea to lofty new heights in Dream Force, depicting the iconic Sith Lord, Darth Vader, as a tranquil, cross-legged Buddhist monk deep in meditation. Worlds away from the ruthless imperial general that struck fear into the hearts of the Rebel Alliance, Romeo’s rendition of the legendary Star Wars villain is characterized by a sense of serene stillness. While retaining his distinctive black helmet, Darth Vader has otherwise exchanged his fearsome armour and lethal red lightsabre for humble monk robes, turning his back on a life of violent conquest to dedicate himself to Zen Buddhism. Darth Vader floats harmoniously in the lotus position, his calm demeanour suggesting that the Sith Lord has transformed into a spiritual leader who has overcome his inner demons and experienced a divine awakening. In this transcendental state, Darth Vader dreams of a better future by using the Force for good rather than evil, a point poignantly made through the mystical title Dream Force and its play on the Dark Side of the Force in Star Wars. Romeo builds on Darth Vader’s journey from darkness into light through the word assemblage ‘Be Here Now’, a powerful mantra that calls on us to be present and harness the Force in the here and now. The chant is masterfully altered to form the phrase ‘Be Metta Now’, a reference to the Buddhist concept of mettā and its tenets of loving kindness, good will and peace. Through this, Romeo humorously juxtaposes Darth Vader’s former reputation for brutality with his current reality as the galaxy’s leading spiritual guide for non-violence and universal love.
H34592 Dream Force
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Johnny Romeo is an internationally acclaimed Australian painter. Considered Australia’s leading Pop artist, Romeo is spearheading the global Neo-Expressionist Pop movement with his electrifying collision of rock’n’roll swagger, comic book aesthetics and street art. Described by GQ Magazine Australia as ‘part punk, part pop’, Romeo’s Kitsch Pop works are explosive sugar rushes of Technicolour imagery and urban grittiness that are turning heads worldwide.
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