Save Our Placards! is an inspiring, moving indictment of the socio-political zeitgeist. Placards made by ordinary people with ordinary lives who were so angered, so incredulous as to the behaviour and policies of their government with regards to huge public spending cuts, they felt the need, perhaps the duty to take to the streets of London and march with their placards on 26th March 2011. Over a year later they are still relevant and will remain an important historical document.
Exhibiting these placards in a gallery space exposes them to scrutiny that they were never designed for. If something is shown in a gallery then it is seen as Art. The people that made and designed these placards are not Artists in the sense that they have no artistic training and do not pursue Art in their everyday lives. However, they have put paint and pen to cardboard and paper, hammered pieces of wood together, used textiles, colour, cartoon, pun, sarcasm, satire and metaphor to express the way they feel based on a spontaneous, gut reaction to an element of their reality. Is that not Art?
The beauty for me, in seeing these works in a gallery space is that it offers people who may not necessarily understand or even care about Art based on concept the opportunity to do so. The placards are literal, they shout at you from the top of their voices, there is no mystery about their message or purpose even though the ideas that motivated their creation, and which they portray are quite complex. They are a product of a collective state of mind. Their cause is given weight by sheer numbers. The ‘trained’, ‘theorising’ artist has a cause too. That is why they make art. It is however more challenging to understand the mind of an individual and the original idea may be seemingly separated from the residual work. Many people have difficulty in appreciating something which does not represent the natural world/reality. I say reality is limited.
Save Our Placards! blurs the lines of how we perceive art and where it resides and who creates it. Maybe there is an artist lurking in all of us.
The Private View and social event is tonight, Saturday 21st April, 5-9pm.
Guy Atkins, one of the originators of Save Our Placards!, and his partner Helen, will be attending the evening too.... all the way from London.
The placards have journeyed from London and the Show is being curated.
Private View Saturday 21 April 5-9pm