The candle has blown out on the European project for the UK and this wonderful piece by Christian Boehmer (Böhmer) a German artist whose work I first saw at Upfest last year and have tracked on Instagram ever since. His trademark is that all the people in his works have paper bags over their heads to play with the idea of anonymity.
I still find our national vote to leave Europe deeply embarrassing and depressing and can’t believe what a pig’s ear we are making of it. The ‘Britain first’ narrative does not chime for me. It stinks of arrogance and intolerance – behaviours I and many others dislike. This piece I find quite a poignant reminder of our collective folly.
I do like Christian Boehmer’s work and was pleased to have seen his return to Upfest. I rather hope he comes again next year and that I get a chance to meet him.
This was most certainly one of the highlights of my Upfest experience last year even before I knew that it was by an artist whose work I admire greatly, Braga Last 1.
I saw this piece early in its genesis on one of my first circuits around South Street Park, but inspite of Braga being scrawled all over it, the penny hadn’t dropped. It wasn’t until the end of the second day that I was able to see the finished piece and grab a few moments chatting with Braga Last 1, or at least I should say with his girlfriend as he struggled a litle with English.
The piece is a self-portrait with a crazy bag of stuff in a back pack…but where is he off to? If you take a closer look, this is actually a Brexit piece – there are some clues in the bag.
If you look carefully, you can see that in the rucksack is a book ‘Brexit for Dummies’ a brilliant title. What saddens me is that Europeans view our departure as utter folly, and I can’t help agreeing with them. I feel embarrassed and ashamed that our nation voted to leave and I am left feeling closer to the Europeans than to my own countryfolk. I fear an unhealthy legacy for many decades to come.
A convenient narrative adopted by pro-Brexit campaigners urging a return to the ‘good old days’ before we were told what to do by Europe. The facts rather contradict this romantic notion, and certainly my recollection of growing up in London in the 1970s is not a pleasant one – choking car fumes, filth and litter everywhere and heavily polluted rivers, our countryside didn’t fare much better. What did European regulations ever do for us…? (Habitats Directive, Water Framework Directive, the Birds Directive, Bathing Waters Directive, Air Quality Framework Directive and others).
Every time I hear the Government trot out the words that the Brexit is the will of the British people, they are excluding the 48% who voted to remain. Are we not British people? This lot will never carry me with them as long as they use this bullying kind of coercive language.