What do the Dalai Lama, U.S. President Barack Obama and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have in common? They are, in a sense, icons. It’s easy to find portraits of them, often very large ones. Images of national leaders are hung for varying reasons. Dictators, in particular, seem to have a real fondness for seeing very-rosy likenesses of them hovering over public places.
A fatherly gaze, or a frown of disdain
A huge portrait can symbolize a leader’s watchful, fatherly gaze over his flock, or it can reinforce an individual’s forceful rule over the land. Opponents can also turn pictures into targets, morphing them into images of mockery and disdain. In this week’s photo gallery, you’ll find a little bit of everything – mundane, profane and insane.