Michael Sandle was born in Weymouth, Dorset, in 1936. He studied at the Douglas I.O.M. School of Art and Technology and London’s Slade School of Fine Art. In 1954 he was conscripted for national service in the Royal Artillery. Sandle has exhibited internationally and has undertaken many commissions. Themes of war, death, destruction, inhumanity and media manipulation are constant in his work, as he treads a path outside the fashionable mainstream. From 1961 he taught in Leicester and Coventry, before moving to Canada in 1970. From 1973 he lived and worked in Germany. He retired as a professor at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe and moved back to the UK in 1999. He was elected as a Royal Academician in 1989, resigning in 1997 and rejoining 2004, and made a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors in 1994. The work he is most proud of is the Malta World War Two siege memorial sited at the entrance to the Grand Harbour in Valletta, which was completed in 1992 and incorporates a 13.5-tonne bell, and for which he was awarded the Henry Hering Memorial Medal by the National Sculpture Society of America.
Sandle writes: ‘The idea for As Ye Sow came from Holman Hunt’s painting The Light of the World. It has not been my intention to satirise this work, as although I am not religious I remain an admirer of this artist. The real motivation behind this medal is the fact that it makes me puke whenever I hear politicians say things like, “We are in Afghanistan to make the streets of Britain safer”. So therefore in depicting Christ as an F16 Pilot I have attempted to show the hypocrisy behind the nominal Judaeo-Christian values of the West that are claimed to be behind our grotesque and extraordinarily unintelligent foreign policies. We are horrified when Muslim extremists cut off heads, but we cut off heads too – including those of children – via indiscriminate air and drone strikes.