Wyndham Lewis was an exceptionally controversial satirical writer and artist involved in the Vorticism movement, which was said to be an alternative approach to Cubism and Futurism.

Olaf Stapledon’s Star Maker speaks about the “strange beings”, similar to the robotic or alien looking figures in the painting that appear to be looking into each other’s eyes, searching in fear for similarity and justification of their own selves. The 1920’s song “Stardust” exemplifies the other worldly feeling towards the unknown and mysterious extraterrestrial creatures people often see in the image. In his work, Lewis makes various connections to the themes of the dehumanization of World War I, essentially exploring the idea of the “savage”, particularly when considering the lack of recognition Indian troops received for their contributions even though they made terrific sacrifices.

“In this passionately social world, loneliness dogged the spirit. People were constantly “getting together,” but they never really got there. Everyone was terrified of being alone with himself; yet in company, in spite of the universal assumption of comradeship, these strange beings remained as remote from one another as the stars. For everyone searched his neighbour’s eyes for the image of himself, and never saw anything else. Or if he did, he was outraged and terrified.”

Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), Red and Black Principle (1936)