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Sunday, 17 October 2021

Art of Roa - 1. The Conquered Hero


Roa - Graham (Conquered Hero)

At first sight this marvellous image might easily be mistaken for the work of Homoeros, a noted creator of crucufixion imagery whose work often features outside settings like this bathed in bright, Mediterranean light. But Roa spares this defeated warrior from agonising death on the cross, instead using the construct to parade him in their victory march. The prolonged suspension is painful and the forced nudity humbles him, but this spectacular exhibition they have arranged for him also pays tribute to his heroic qualities which have made him highly-prized as a captive.  


Roa - Graham (In captivity)

Soon enough though the lauded hero is despatched to a dank dungeon to await a grisly fate. His modesty has been temporarily restored with a flimsy loin cloth but the widely spaced restraints continue to draw attention to his muscular physique. They suppress his physical strength and place unnatural stresses on his body. He can be in little doubt that his captors are preparing him for further suffering.

Roa portrays 'Graham' as a well-developed adult with a ginger, buzz haircut which serves as a tribal badge in historical fantasy but also seems to convey a man with lingering youthfulness and a rebellious, unconventional character. 

The suggestively dangling loin cloth suggests there might be a nude version of this image and his wistful contemplation of that area may reflect a resignation to that area being a focus of his captor's attention. 

Roa - Graham (Nipple Torture)

So it proves. Once his real ordeal begins the modesty afforded by the loin cloth is soon forfeit and his limbs are subjected to even more severe restraint. It starts with mild but invasive manipulations that impress upon him how vulnerable his body now is to painful assault. However the heavy chains that hold him and the torturer's formal hood indicate that far worse is to come. 

Graham's slightly chubby face, stubble and body hair are representative of a particular form of rather earthy, natural manhood that you might associate with big rugby players and construction workers.

Roa - Graham (facing hot irons)

Graham's manly qualities are severely tested in a series of trials including being chained to a stone block and tortured with hot irons, one of the most extreme torments imaginable. His face in this image is a great study in mature masculinity and stoic endurance. Roa bestows on him a muscular back, which are one of the glories of his work but an inviting target for his subject's captors. 

Graham's pain in this predicament is not merely physical, he is forced to endure it in front of his lover, Alphons, who happens to be the Prince of his realm. Graham's unconventional (not to say tricky) relationship with Alphons forms the backbone of this story. Roa depicts with great sensitivity how the young Prince falls in love with his finest warrior, a man who is old enough to be his father. It's a classic realisation of adolescent hero worship and lust fantasy.

He goes on to seduce Graham him in some beautifully romantic scenes. Later, the two men are seen fighting alongside each other in battle, implying he is of an age, but unfortunately, for me, he just looks too young and the renders of him (and other characters seen in this example) don't achieve the same maleness and individuality of Graham and his tormentors.

More Roa Art in Part 2 next time at mitchmen

Roa seemed to vanish a few years back, I can't find him anywhere on the net including pixiv and Patreon. Roanovel on Deviant Art is still there but empty apart from some interesting pieces by other artists, his Tumbr site is gone. If you know more please leave a comment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I discovered a couple of pieces of his art fairly recently but unfortunately the artist has closed all his art sites. Curious if you have more collection of his art.