Yesterday evening the UK’s parliament voted to show that they had not changed their mind since December on a withdrawal agreement that hadn’t changed since December. Street artists have not been impressed with the political process over the past three months, nor indeed the past three years or so.
“Bye Bye” says an anonymous artist who spotted a gate in Shoreditch conveniently painted EU flag blue. This flag with one member missing piece echoes Banksy’s enormous EU flag with a tromp l’oeil worker chipping away a star brilliantly greeting UK leavers as they depart through Dover.
It was noticeable and disappointing how little political street art appeared during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign. The most memorable from a very small entry list were these spoofs on the adverts for Banksy’s street art documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop” lampooning Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage.
Since then we have seen a ramping up of the Brexit street art as the unthinkable went from implausible to likely to now pretty much unavoidable.
In the aftermath of the referendum result the immediate targets for street art scorn and derision were David Cameron, Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, the architects and chief pom-pom wavers for the Leave cause.
The political paralysis and consequential insertion of heads into the sand really gained a head of steam in December.
Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence by her own party after cancelling the first so-called “meaningful vote” in December
I was recently obliged to take a few weeks away from the walls and pavements of Shoreditch and on resuming street meanderings last weekend I was bowled over by the amount of Brexit street art that appeared in that short absence.
The duo Quiet British Accent belatedly brought George V into the debate.
Theyen Rich aka Corrosive 8 deploys the sound political debating stratgey of making your opponent look simultaneously stupid and obscene, the Prime Minster’s watersports would certainly rate triple X. He also borrows the buses to nowhere from anarcho-punk artist Jamie Reid and adds a Carrie Reichardt slogan.
Benjamin Irritant’s rabbit asks a very pointed rhetorical question, is it great again yet?
The Misfortuneteller has developed a witty street cartoon style in the past couple of years, this largest piece to date borrows its style from a closing down sale, its simplicity belying the fact that it is emphasizing the gap between the Brexiteer’s promises of “the easiest trade deals ever negotiated” against the visibly increasing isolation the country faces with borders and barriers hardening, no deals and inward investment evaporating.
Subdude, producer of a lot of Brexit related art over the past few years, has deviated from his usual distinctive style of political humour on flat colour blocks to deliver a hand drawn condemnation of petty sectarian spats, photos and cartoons on newspaper pages make it clear who is the target of the jibe. Apparently Subdude has put six out on the streets but so far I have only found three, one of which overlays a political cartoon illustrating Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn both facing a common dilemma, Brexit actually threatening to irreparably split both of the UK’s main political parties. Ironically, in order to placate their parties both are having to turn away from the fact that neither actually supports the position they politically obliged to adopt, we live in weird times.
Cigarette packet health warnings have been used as the basis for political street art for over 10 years, in fact almost since the regulations came in in 2003, think K-Guy in the mid 2000s. Wanker’s Of The World, whose mission is to identify and award that sobriquet to suitable candidates in the public eye are responsible for enormous cigarette packets mocking the main proponents of the Brexiteers. There are apparently 6, we located 5 in the past week. Ironically, the adoption of those cigarette packet warnings is actually an EU law which mandates the format, size and range of messages in all EU countries.
IN the interests of fairnessm here is a comprehensive review of all the pro Brexit street art seen since 2016:
Who knows what the monkeys in the chamber are going to do next, certainly they don’t!
This is a condensed version of a blog post that originally appeared on Graffoto blog
Boo Who Up North Instagram
Joe Bloggs Instagram
Quiet British Accent Instagram
Benjamin Irritant Instagram
The Misfortuneteller Instagram
Wankers Of The World website
All Photos: Dave Stuart