A giant art installation targets predator drone operators


In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.


The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

The project is a collaboration of artists who made use of the French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement. Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped launch the effort which has been released with the hashtag #NotABugSplat

Children gather around the installation

Children gather around the installation

Ground view of the gigantic poster of the child victim.

Ground view of the gigantic poster of the child victim.

The child featured in the poster is nameless, but according to FFR, lost both her parents and two young siblings in a drone attack. 

The group of artists traveled inside KPK province and, with the assistance of highly enthusiastic locals, unrolled the poster amongst mud huts and farms. It is their hope that this will create empathy and introspection amongst drone operators, and will create dialogue amongst policy makers, eventually leading to decisions that will save innocent lives.

125 thoughts on “A giant art installation targets predator drone operators

  1. A fascinating idea. It’s great to see artists using their talents to really try and affect change and help the most vulnerable amongst us. Great work!

  2. It’s kind of a heart breaking blog post, I hate to see that some people are treated exactly or even worse than bugs. And indeed I think it’s a briliant idea, hopefully times will change and innocent won’t have to suffer.

  3. Great idea to raise issue of illegal Drone strikes on Pakistan.Totally with you.

    Please can we also have 70000 #NotBugSplat posters outside the homes of those #Pakistanis who were slaughtered by Taliban (TTP) terrorism via bombs & slit throats.

    • I wish what you say is also picked up by the artist otherwise the poster will depict only one side of the story.

      • so you mean that anyone who is murdered by drone attacks enemies of those who are killed by bomb blasts etc?

        No, both are same side of story not opposite ones. both are murdered by butchers.

        p.s. this campaign is against killings of innocents not terrorists etc.

    • How’s about the Pakistan authorities arresting and prosecuting the people who have killed 70,000 citizens by bombs and slitting throats? Drones are used by people acting as judge, jury and executioner without evidence. Drones are murder weapons. Murder is a local problem whereas mass murder of foreigners is an international problem. I saw German drones over England during WW2 …… I was 7 when the war ended … been there, done that, seen the film, got the tee shirt. These #NotBugSplat artists are doing a brilliant job!!!!

  4. This is a beautiful post and the girl in the photo is so innocent, so pure and the way these drones have harmed her…its scary for me to these read comments which express empathy for the children but say using these machines is necessary. I mean, it is so ingrained in your brains that this is the ONLY means to fight the Taliban. Do you actually think so? Do you actually think that with all our technology and all our creativity, this is all we can come up with? It might be the easiest. But really, the only one?
    Well, I’d like to ask, would you like a government to hunt down criminals in this way among you? Especially a foreign government?
    Any way of hunting down terrorists in a way that puts innocent people’s lives at risk should not be used. Instead a better method should be thought about and brought to actuality. It might be easier for you to accept this girl’s fate, living comfortably in your homes, but actually for a moment try to imagine her reality and her memories and the environment she will be living in. And please, really think about it and then say, drones are necessary.

  5. And also the idea that, “Well, the Taliban are killing them anyway, so lets just kill them some more” is also very dangerous. Believe me, I hate the Taliban, I wish they never existed, the amount of horrific crimes they have committed, I don’t know how they live with themselves. But these sacrifices for greater good are NOT necessary, they shouldn’t happen, there has to be a better way but I don’t find anybody working on it!

  6. Brilliant and beautiful initiative. It’s a tragedy that it was required in the first place.
    I wish humans would “grow up” and become more sensitive to other humans’ suffering.
    Love and best wishes from India.

  7. This is an excellent idea. Opposing military aggression with anger and hatred fuels continued aggression. It is better to appeal to conscience, so that the aggressor wakes up and realizes “What we are doing is wrong.”

  8. Humans can act in ways to make them of the highest moral creatures, and at the same also act to become the lowest of the low. Thank you for your effort.

  9. Great work and Idea. May be the artists could make the drawing available to us on line to spread across the planet.

  10. This is a truly moving response to the atrocity that is the loss of any life. I wish you will in your continued efforts and know that there is support out there!

  11. I am ashamed of our Interventionist Foreign Policy. We have become our worst enemy. As Ron Paul has said countless times, we need to mind our own business. Folks, the blood of Abel screams from the ground.

  12. I sincerely hope that this helps. It should be put on the roofs of the houses though – otherwise it takes up valuable field space, and the locals will probably remove it so that they can grow their crops. Physiological needs come before safety needs…

  13. shameful drone campaign from the US, which is killing all those civilian people as ‘collateral damage’. Why does the public press in the West not talk about these actions more

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