The presidential election passed, featured two of the most unpopular candidates in decades to run a race riddled with scandals, most notably involving emails, explicit suggestions about the female pelvic area and accusations of Russian espionage. As we already know, Trump took the win, decided by the Electoral College – losing the popular vote, to become the most unpopular US president in modern history. His inauguration as president incited spontaneous demonstrations from liberation groups worldwide. While some flocked out into busy cities to demonstrate, others had a far more intriguing outlet – art.
It’s not unheard of for popular political opinion to be implemented into art, and it can certainly yield interesting results – as they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’. Of course, the caricature of Che Guevara became the most stencilled art piece ever for its overwhelming aura of independence, defiance and rebellion. Unsurprisingly, rather than representing his image as a symbol of admiration, like that of Che’s, Trump’s caricatures in pop art, resemble that of a time of heated disrepute among the populous, in Liberal cities in particular, London being a prime example, the art scene has become very much intrigued with his image.
London’s take on Trump in art is unfiltered, ballsy and edgy, the painting titled “Make America Great Again”, pictured left, was hung in a grandiose renaissance style frame in the Maddox gallery for all to see in Mayfair, London. The piece was conceived with gender roles in mind. Its creator, Illma Gore, claims the piece is not meant to humiliate Trump, but to make people question why they react to the picture the way they do. She commented on the piece, saying:
“I don’t believe in gender,”
“Laughing at it is actually part of the problem,” she said. “In actual fact, if I drew him with a massive cock, he would be no different.”
“I believe masculinity and femininity are strong ideologies that exist without the genders female or male, and genitals mean nothing other [than for] reproduction.”
Creating the piece was a bold move and, despite Illma’s intentions being less malicious than expected, she was subsequently bullied over social media, receiving masses of death and rape threats online because of the artwork. Later, she became a victim of a vicious attack, which left her with sickening wounds, she told reporters of her experience:
“I don’t feel safe in my home”
“It was in broad daylight at the end of April. I left my house and was heading to the art store on Alvira Street. Suddenly a car full of young people pulled up next to me. One of them ran up and punched me in the face as the group began to laugh and cheer the action on. The only thing I heard from the lips of the young man, was the slogan “Trump 2016!”.
Arguably the prominence of art in opposition to Trump is a spectacle for both moderates and lefties to enjoy. Popular mobilisation railed against Trump’s intolerant ideals, whether it be his legislation of the Muslim ban or his opposition to the right to choose, brings a clear message of opposition but it does risk a dilution of the message. Sombre a critique it may be, I think there’s an element of caution needed when devising a narrative – and inflating too much of the narrative about trump to a number of criticisms most people have heard far too many times, risks the narrative becoming propaganda alone – the narrative, and thus the opposition to Trump, must become far more nuanced, and the incipience of aggressively over replicated Trump-themed artwork perhaps indicates that criticism of the most powerful individual in the world is running a bit stale.