The problem I foresee with so many people rushing to the defense of this piece and being like "It's art" or "We accept sex but no murder but we're fine with our little plastic men murdering each other" is that it is woefully optimistic.
Given what we see on the picture, the various faces that show vastly different emotions on each of the models, I tend to doubt that this was someone doing this for a sexual/power fantasy. Were that the case why would he put the trouble into creating a guardsman who does not look happy about what he is seeing in front of him (who also seems to be hitting a button, an alarm maybe?), plus the tank driver who seems to be looking more at the guy taking his pants off then the Eldar? Were this for a sexual/power fantasy those models don't fit with the theme of it.
Now you COULD make the argument that he painted those 2 mini's as his subconscious mind knowing this is wrong and it's a cry for help but I find that to be MUCH more far fetched then doing this as some sort of image on the horrors of war.
Now, it is possible it was done for "shock and awe" effect to promote discussion about the horrors of war and abuse toward women. That is entirely a possibility. However, two things strike me off the bat:
- Many of those who are rushing to it's defense are doing so because "It's art and shows how we don't accept sex but more readily accept murder/death", and that's all well and good, but if all the piece makes us do is talk about whether it's art or not rather than about how we stop sexual abuse, both in and out of the sphere of warfare, then it has rather failed in it's purpose. And thus far, it seems to have done just that.
- It's a matter of context. This whole thread was to discuss the piece it self, which lead it's way into the message it's trying to convey. If the thread was about "Look at this picture, how do we stop Sexual abuse in and out of warfare" you might have merit to that argument. All art should do is convey something to you. If it sparks the conversation about if it's Art or not it's done it's job.
- Just from a straw poll of how many people in my FLGS are male and how many folk I know on here are, I find it highly unlikely that the person making this piece was a woman (Yes that's not an accurate measure and I'm happy to be proven wrong before you all descend on me like a tonne of bricks). That suggests one of two things: either a very conscious man did it as a work of art to promote discussion (which I think a fair few people have said there are better ways to do this than painting miniatures. I mean, if you've got that much time, sign petitions and protest and other arguably more useful things), or (and this is the more likely candidate in my head) it is a fetishistic portrayal of rape because it's a piece done in a predominately male sphere with (as we've seen here) plenty of people who will justify it.
This just sounds like a conspiracy theory. Your argument is that the creator of this piece (most likely male, as males mostly play this game) purposely made it with 40K minis because there are more men in the hobby who will justify the fact that it displays a heinous act (to appeal to his/her fetish) with "oh it's art." That's a pretty weak argument.
Now, if the artist came forward and he/she spoke about the inspiration for the piece and what it was meant to convey and provoke discussion about, then fair enough. But thus far, with no evidence to suggest that, and a bit to suggest that it was probably done by a man, who (again, from a straw poll of those at my FLGS both at uni and at home) are hardly the most conscious about feminist issues such as sexual assault, I choose to believe until proven otherwise that this was just an excuse for someone to let out their sick, twisted fantasies and frankly should be burnt.
So your argument about what this piece is about boils down to "A guy most likely made it, as mostly guys are in this hobby, and they can't possibly understand "feminist" issues (sexual assault is not a feminist issue, it's a human one) so it MUST be some guys weird sexual/power fantasy."
That's one of the weakest arguments I've personally ever heard. Plus I love the fact that you left yourself open to change your opinion on the piece if you found out it was created by a woman, as though that makes anything shown in this better. The idea that Men can't understand something like Sexual Assault is bad logic.
Plus, it's not just inconsiderate of minors. It is inconsiderate of those who might have been in a similar scenario and such a piece might trigger painful flash-back/memories or even panic attacks. That, if nothing else, is enough for me to believe that this was a piece done out of woeful ignorance at best, and sick twisted fantasy at worst.
By that logic so is saying rape on an evening news cast. If we're not allowed to talk about something because someone somewhere MAY have some painful memories about a similar event then NOTHING that ever needs to be discussed will be talked about.