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Review: V&A Festival of Disobedience

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The relationship between art and activism is a complex one; ‘Arts Attack Disobey’ is the perfect example of aesthetically pleasing art with conscious political statements.

Located at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the exhibition is hosted by Arts Attack in collaboration with SUARTS and showcases work from students of the University of the Arts London on social, political and global issues.

Entering the exhibition ‘Shitty Shirts’ is the most visible and striking piece, featuring array of dirty blood stained city shirts hanging from the ceiling. Creator and CSM student Sally Gorham described it as a “protest against a small group, mainly white male who pay themselves excessively at the expense of everyone else”.

2. Arts Attack Disobey at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo by James Childs

Arts Attack Disobey at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Photo by James Childs

A collaboration between LCC student Calvin Lok and CSM student Celine Loh, ‘Hi I believe’ is a twist on the popular ‘Hello My Name Is…’ stickers. The stickers act as the object of disobedience, placing an emphasis on our beliefs encouraging conversation with like-minded individuals, with the hope of creating change.  Speaking to Calvin Lok, he revealed one child had taken a liking to his work and had wrote Santa on his ‘Hi I believe’ sticker.

Artist and LCC student Calvin Lok showcasing his art work 'Hi I believe’. Photo by James Childs

Artist and LCC student Calvin Lok showcasing his art work ‘Hi I believe’. Photo by James Childs

The disobedient objects cover the wooden lockers of the V&A’s Learning Centre Lunchroom, reminding one of the juxtaposition of socially conscious work within the bourgeois institution.

Curator and SUARTS president Shelly Asquith spoke on the idea behind the exhibition, “We thought the disobedient objects exhibition downstairs was really interesting. We approached the V&A with the idea of students responding to exhibition. There is a really interesting range of art, inspired by so many global movements such as the Black Lives Matter campaign, Gezi Park in Turkey, the Hong Kong protest for democracy.”

A highlight would be ‘Hands up don’t shoot’ by Inés Cámara and Ella Phillips, which exemplifies the growing relationship between social media and technology to raise social awareness.  The art work features two loud speakers which play a ringtone acting as a tool for disobedience against unequal power structures.

‘Hands up don’t shoot’ by Wimbledon students Inés Cámara and Ella Phillips

‘Hands up don’t shoot’ by Wimbledon students Inés Cámara and Ella Phillips

‘Arts Attack Disobey’ is part of the V&A’s Festival of Disobedience that will be running until the 1st of February.

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