A modern poem by Malcolm Atkins inspired by Percy Bysshe Shelley
A sad, mad, drunk, despised, and lying leader
Ministers, the dregs of their crazed cabal, who show
Through self-conceited scorn devotion to that fibbing bottom feeder;
MPs who neither care nor care to know,
But leechlike to their cowering country bleed her
Till they drop, blind in blood and filthy lucre, without a blow.
A people frozen and fracked in untilled Brexit fields;
Police, whose racism and misogyny each day
Makes a two-edged sword to she who cruelly wields
Vain and vicious laws which drown those with no say;
The media run by millionaires with truth to power sealed;
A Parliament, failed franchise unrepealed –
All autocratic tombs from which at last the truth may
Burst, illumining our autonomous day.
For many who have spent years honing their skills of expression in a particular discipline, the ideas of Schoenberg may seem much more sympathetic than those of Beuys. However, I will argue that Beuys’ assertion does not take away the need to dedicate to a chosen form of expression and does not imply that community art means ‘anything goes’ as denigrators would have us believe.
In fact the opposite. The more people realise their creative potential in what they choose to do within society and respect and debate and nourish the creativity of others, the more we can have a functioning democracy of mutual respect for human endeavour. And without that equality of creative expression and understanding, we risk continuing in the malaise of the decline of capitalist society into a septic monoculture of unbridled consumption and destruction that seeks to extinguish the natural world as well as the unnatural world it has engendered.
1. To be human is to be creative
The WPG recognises the need for humans to fulfil themselves creatively in the material, social and cultural spheres. Both individually and collectively, our creativity makes us who we are. We believe this existential need to be creative makes creativity a universal right for all humans.
2. Creativity needs a community
The WPG believes our creativity depends on collective effort and involvement of the community for both its meaning and its power to make positive changes in the world.
3. Creativity needs a world
The WPG believes we must be one with our environment. We are living organisms — how we shape and understand the world must be in sympathy with how the world functions as a living organism. We seek to live in harmony with other beings, human and otherwise, along with looking for a way to heal the rift between man and nature when the two should be indistinguishable. Above all, the WPG opposes the ongoing environmental destruction that the interests of the capital-owning class are bringing about.
4. Creativity needs freedom
The WPG opposes all hierarchies, institutions and systems that hamper human creativity. Creativity is for all, not just the preserve of a particular class, caste or profession. Access to the means and outlets for self-expression is a right for all. The role of the arts is to express truth — including speaking truth to power. The WPG seeks no funding from the State nor any corporate sponsor to ensure we never are compromised in what we can say.
5. Creativity needs inclusivity
The WPG believes everyone has a right to express their creativity; we encourage everyone to share their work with us. We are foremost a community gallery — the professional artists belonging to our collective are keen to share the space with all. Much of our gallery’s artwork is devoted to environmental awareness, justice, and speaking truth to power. But we welcome any expression providing it does not prejudice any group or culture.
6. Creativity needs a home
The WPG maintains a gallery space in a front garden in a suburban street between Rose Hill Estate and Cowley Centre. Our gallery is accessible to all, and everyone is encouraged to visit and contribute — it is not an exclusive gallery where only an elite clientele is welcome. We also maintain a website for recording our work and promoting our aims and ideals. Our web presence also allows artists from all over the world to contribute to our online gallery.
Bojo the Clown here bringing you greetings from the Westbury People’s Gallery – the foremost on street art gallery in Westbury Crescent.
If like me you’re bored of endless reports and investigations into supposed crimes and misdemeanours you honestly never did (or at least can’t remember) then why not peruse this wonderful site just opening up to the world (as I may have to if that girly swot Keir and his mates get their way).
So, what’s the gallery up to this bleak midwinter month?
Well, the new website is here – yes right here thanks to Julian Dourado and Jane Yates.
Alex Singleton or ASBirdman is the artist of the month – there will be a retrospective of some of his work at the gallery for the last few years which I am pleased to say features delightful depictions of me and my friend Donald.
Jane Yates is spreading word of the gallery throughout TikTok and Twitter
And outside of that, you can find here films of me, books of me, songs of me and soon there will even be a board game featuring – guess who? – ME !! Actually, there are loads and loads of artists here and even the ones not painting or drawing me are still pretty good.
Do have a wonderful day!
A detail from the “Altar of Material Apotheosis”, featuring a scale model of Jeff Bezos’s New Shepard rocket, 777 flawless diamonds and 72 specially selected Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Part of the Westbury People’s Gallery exhibition/happening “Goodbyee!” held in September 2021.
It was empty, there was no one left. Inadequacy at every level left the historical room empty. A few pigeon feathers blowing around from a tiny draft caused by a door left ajar. A once great establishment stood still. No more deals made in times of recessions, Catastrophic policy-making and pandemics. Disaster economics had worked well. The fat elite had buffered off to Grand Cayman whilst we the punters were left feeding off landfill sites. The empty shell of the commons was a measure of our times. History would talk about these dark times with disbelief. But it was all true, for once historical facts had not been distorted. The Island of fools stood as a symbol of how not to do things for all eternity. The digital mark was left in every computer on the planet.