I'm not sure I could name a revolution that hasn't been a focal point for artists, musicians and creatives. The struggle to build a better world and fighting great evils that seek to control us and grind us down is pretty much is a most powerful muse that has inspired great works and idle doodles through-out history. It is a heritage and character we celebrate in almost every aspect of our lives. I think Emma Goldman said it best in Living My Life (1931) when she talks about enjoying some music and someone tells her “it did not behoove an agitator to dance”, enraged she reflects;
“I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal. “
So let's take a moment to celebrate some art!
Meet the work of Chris Bird
“ I create speaks about the confusing and beautiful energy of city life and my own struggle against mental health issues. My art stands squarely on the side of the marginalized and poor. I hope that the images inspire people to go on and create their own art and find their own voice. I really value this opportunity to share my art and I particularly hope to reach out to those people who face social marginalization. I drew many of the images while a day patient at the Jules Thorn Acute Unit in Kings X as well as at Portugal Prints’ studio, Arlington House, Camden Town... I don’t believe in art as a removed or lofty exercise. I often listen to music when I draw and I have been influenced by bands such as CRASS, Psychic TV, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire and X Ray Spex.”
I think it's quite wonderful and powerful. It's a raw and powerful take on our collective struggles in this urban delirium. I'm not the only either, he's had exhibitions at Camden Mind, The Marx Memorial Library, Freedom Bookshop and you'll find his artwork in various punk zines and the likes of The Big Issue. In conjunction with Tom Mallander at ‘Write London’ he has also produced a paperback collection of short stories and drawings called, “From Wapping and West Ham to Istanbul and Back Again” (2018)
His next exhibition will be as part of “LONDONS LIGHT AND DARK” which is being held at The Conference Centre at St Pancras Hospital, opening night being Thursday 2 May 2019 from 5.30pm and the exhibition being up until the 28th of June. The event is a collaboration of the NHS's The Arts Project and Mind's Portugal Prints and will feature artists both trained and self-taught, interpreting the title and theme of the exhibition, London’s Light and Dark by sharing their personal feelings and experience of London through creative expression. London’s architecture, signage, and cultural heritage are subject matters for the artworks along with portraiture of the human face, offering expressions of mood, both positive and negative. The exhibition delves beneath the surface of what it means for all of us living in the metropolis of one of the world’s great cities.
Which is the artsy way of saying the shows going to be tidy and you might want to pop along and experience London through the eyes of it's artists! In the mean time you can have a gander at more of Chris Bird's work on Outside In a website dedicated toproviding a platform for artists who face barriers to the art world and over on his Facebook.
Are you a comrade artist, poet or musician? Email us at [email protected] and let us share your work and celebrate the beautiful creatives in our community.