Review: “Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18” at the Design Museum, London

What can we learn about graphics, politics and human rights? Political graphics have long been attached to British and overseas politics, from early twentieth-century suffragette banners to the placards featured in last month’s Campaign Against Anti-Semitism protests at the Labour Party HQ in London. However, whilst they have traditionally been associated with states, corporations andContinue reading “Review: “Hope to Nope: Graphics and Politics 2008-18” at the Design Museum, London”

The “Quality Vandalism” of Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel

There is something subversive and secretive about graffiti—even when its artist is world-renowned. Banksy, an anti-authoritarian graffiti artist, understands this phenomenon. He skyrocketed to international fame in the early 2000s for his cutting edge masterpieces in spray paint, which led TIME magazine to name him one of the 100 most influential people in the worldContinue reading “The “Quality Vandalism” of Banksy’s Walled Off Hotel”

Express Yourself: To What Extent Are We Free to Express Ourselves?

We express ourselves in a plethora of ways every day. We express ourselves in the way we dress, the societies we join, the friends we make, and even the supermarkets that we chose to shop in. This ability to express ourselves is fiercely protected within democracies, and is fundamental to our social and political lives.Continue reading “Express Yourself: To What Extent Are We Free to Express Ourselves?”

Museums and Repatriation: Who Owns the Past?

Western cultural institutions such as the Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum Island in Berlin, and the British Museum in London are host to millions of visitors each year and play an integral part in the history of their countries and even the world. These museums display objects fromContinue reading “Museums and Repatriation: Who Owns the Past?”

Arts and Culture: The Missing Piece of the Peacebuilding Puzzle

Thoughts from the Beyond Borders International Festival of Literature and Thought 2016 The last weekend of August was a warm and slightly drizzly one in the Scottish Borders. I found myself spending it milling around the grounds of the beautiful Traquair House, in marquees, yurts, and wig-wams filled with diplomats, artists, politicians, and writers. FumblingContinue reading “Arts and Culture: The Missing Piece of the Peacebuilding Puzzle”

Artists: the Human Rights Activists of Our Time

Ostensibly, it might sound surprising that artists and the art world has anything to do with human rights issues, or even politics in general. The commonplace image of an artist is of a rather self-involved hippy who creates art for its own sake; surely, Marcel Duchamp exhibiting a urinal is not a demonstration of aContinue reading “Artists: the Human Rights Activists of Our Time”