Paul Chapman – Politics Society

The Politics Society was delighted to welcome back Paul Chapman, art historian and National Gallery guide, to speak on the role of political art in the public space.

A packed audience in the Garnett Room listened to Paul explain how art has been used in public spaces to express political grievances and injustices starting with the frescoes of Diego Rivera and in particular his well known mural “Man at the crossroads”. Moving onto the Bogside Artists of Northern Ireland, Paul explained how sectarian troubles had been expressed by huge murals on the sides of houses and even on colour coded kerbstones clearly demarcating parts of Belfast. The narrative then examined the unique wall murals of Orgosolo in Sardinia which extend throughout the whole of this small hill town now making it a popular and unique tourist venue for those interested in this art genre. Paintings there depict global social injustices such as the Vietnam war or the Gaza Strip with obvious influences from the Cubist movement and Picasso.

This hugely stimulating presentation finished off by exploring the subversive and satirical work of Banksy and in particular how he uses dark humour and a distinctive stencilling technique to convey his political message.

This was a thoroughly enriching lecture and no one left in any doubt as to how art and politics are fundamentally and intrinsically entwined!

Matt Gow
Head of Politics

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