For the average everyman throughout the world, it can seem hard to escape the political decisions of our respective governments. Those decisions will often have dramatic, and seemingly fatal, consequences on the lives of the people on whose behalf those decisions are made.
This rings especially true this year, 2016. With Brexit shaking things up in Britain, and Donald Trump’s appointment as President-Elect causing an even bigger stir in America, we are now reaching the end of one of the most shocking years of world politics.
It’s, therefore, perhaps a good thing that so many artists have busied themselves in response to these events. In a way, it could be argued that, while these matters have caused division in political terms, they have gone some way to unite artists in their creative work.
Brexit, for example, has generated a vast number of artistic creations. The artists behind these creations, as well as pieces themselves, are often unnamed. But, more often than not, they poke fun at what a significant number of Brits would consider a grim event.
One such piece depicts the England flag and the EU flag, joined together by fragile-looking threads, a pair of scissors looming ominously over those threads. It can be argued that, in the light of how the votes were cast, those threads don’t bond the flags anymore.
A rather more dramatic, cartoon-like piece portrays a boat termed Europa, with an official peering out of a window, calling “Toe the line fools” to a small boat on the violent waters below. This boat called the HMS Brexit, is piloted by a small band of figures, one of whom comments “Leave means leave” and another thinking (probably on behalf of the entire group) “Heave means heave”. No doubt, many viewers will see this piece and sigh at how Britain has “heaved” itself away from the EU.
Another Brexit-inspired piece involves a man in an England-flag t-shirt facing an EU-flag wall, with a door opened to a dark, unknowable world beyond. Next to the man is a piggy bank. The implications are clear: where will Brexit lead Britain? Who’s going to look after our cash?
Brexit has kept many an artist busy. If anything, Trump-inspired artists are even busier. In response to the flop-haired, red-tie-donning “You’re Fired” mogul, artists have gone about their way to create several artistic pieces to portray what they really think of the man set to run America.
Amit Shimoni is one such artist. Through the use of canvas print, Shimoni has depicted Trump in what most would consider a realistic manner: apart from the Hawaiian shirt which replaces the power suit, the physical features are startlingly accurate. With an orange tinge the skin and a white/blonde quiff to one side, one wonders whether or not Trump is, in fact, looking in a mirror.
A more extreme and damning portrayal of Trump has been devised by Andrew Kong Knight, who reveals Trump with a chain emerging from his mouth, clutching thick wads of cash in one hand and raising the other hand in the style of a Hitler salute. The obvious point of comparison here is shared by many other Trump-haters throughout the world, which is most likely what inspired Knight’s satirical piece.
World politics can seem a bit gloomy at times. Maybe we should follow the example of the artistic geniuses we see around us, and through our work try to raise a smile or two at the sometimes alarming, sometimes daft decisions made throughout the world.
– Luke Mayo, Correspondent (Art)