Monday, 19 May 2014

This is Democracy

"This is Democracy" (detail)
Recently I submitted a piece of writing and an image of one of my early screen prints, This is Democracy, to artist/curator Shaun Featherstone's Red Shoes publication. The magazine was published last week and, though the piece of writing made the final cut, the artwork didn't. That's a shame particularly for an 'artist led' political publication, but I remain optimistic that the Red Shoes initiative will do good things.

I'm fond of my early artworks (such as This is Democracy) which tentatively explored the cross-over between art and politics. TiD took an image of a mass public demonstration and superimposed it on a floral cotton fabric. This was a common theme in my work, which questioned whether art had real power to influence events. Though artists often play a part in wider political movements, their artwork takes part in a dialogue safely contained within the confines of the art milieu. Well, I was young(er) and cynical of everything in those days, but I think I made a valid point.

The power of art lies in its ability to encourage people to see (and engage in) their world from a slightly different perspective. Humans are fundamentally cooperative, creative and curious animals. Artists have sought, for many decades, to take their creativity to a wider audience outside the traditional art gallery context. Then it often gets reigned in and neutered!

Well, the curtain material shops in City Road, Cardiff, are still flourishing and I may soon pay them another visit. But maybe the debate should move onto different ground, such as the one Red Shoes is trying to inhabit.

"Red Shoes" events take place at G39 Gallery, Cardiff and (no doubt) the streets between May and October 2014.

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