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.
Really sorry to draw this out. The wounds here are still sore. In my life I have never known such a divided nation before and unusually, the injured parties are younger people and graduates. What a bad idea the referendum was. The phrase ‘be careful what you wish for’ has never been so apt.