You are now here: Pirates

Tom Sanford – The Somali Pirates Vs. The USS Bainbridge

$80 USD

The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge print by Tom Sanford
The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge, Tom Sanford, archival pigment print, approx. 20 x 17 inches, signed and numbered edition of 30, 2010, $80 USD plus shipping sold out at NOWhere Limited.

NOWhere Limited is pleased to announce the exclusive release of a new, signed and numbered archival pigment print edition by Tom Sanford: The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge

This high resolution archival pigment print measures approximately 20 x 17 inches. The artist’s signed and numbered edition of 30 is printed on acid free paper and is priced at $80 USD per copy, plus shipping. An artist’s proof edition is also available: here It is limited to just 6 copies and is priced at $150 USD.

About this piece, Tom says:

I picked this event, first because of timing, as the event took place just as I was finishing up a large painting of the Black Friday WalMART stampede of 2008, and I was looking for a new subject. I also picked it because this event so beautifully illustrates global economics and the power dynamics of a pluralistic world. And besides, I love the idea of living in a world where pirates roam the Indian Ocean.

In all seriousness, while this particular transaction between the pirates and Maersk went tragically wrong (at least from the pirates’ point of view) – it was fascinating to learn about this little industry of hijacking and cargo insurance that seems to be benefiting all parties involved (except I guess the crews of the hijacked boats that often spend months in limbo while the terms of ransom are negotiated like any other run of the mill international business deal.) In the case of the Maersk Alabama, it is clear that the pirates misjudged the reaction of the US government, or more likely didn’t realize that the Alabama was an American vessel. And of course the stand-off was a beautiful case of asymmetrical warfare when it doesn’t work out for the little guy.

In my painting I took some liberties when depicting the scene in the life raft where captain Richard Phillips was held by the three ill-fated pirates. First of all, the actual raft itself had a covered top, which I changed for sake of the image. I also altered Captain Phillips to look quite a bit like the Bill Murray character (Steve Zissou) from Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic. And for that matter, I also referred to the pirates from The Life Aquatic when designing the look of the Somali pirates in my painting. I also chose to give my pirates some of the classic accoutrements of their profession, such as a peg leg, a hook for a hand, and a skull & cross bones flag, for comic effect and to heighten the lopsided nature of this standoff. I made sure to have three African vultures as a nod to the ultimate fate of the three pirates on the raft. I also enjoyed adding circling sharks and toxic waste, which I understand are accurate to the location and add some drama to the scene. These sharks were also a nod to the famous John Singleton Copley painting Watson and the Shark.
Tom Sanford signing The Somali Pirates vs. The USS Bainbridge in his Harlem, NYC studio,  2010.

Tom Sanford is a New York-based artist whose work is exhibited around the world. His paintings, which range from historical works depicting celebrity assassinations to portraits of gangsta rappers and teen pop tarts to elaborate cosmologies weaved together from Hollywood movies, reflect a deep ambivalence about the American cultural condition. 

For more information about Tom Sanford, please consult his website at:

See all available art by: Tom Sanford

Pin It
Filed under: Sold out
Tagged with: ,