The Art of Protest

The Art of Protest

Radical Folk & the British Tradition of Free Speech 19 April – 28 May 2007 May Day Festival & Procession Bank Holiday Monday 7 May

The Art of Protest was an exhibition, a series of participatory live events, workshops, debates and broadcasts based around the history and forms of May Day. It brought together a group of politically active artists who examined contemporary forms of artistic and cultural protest. The project culminated in a spectacular May Day Festival and Procession, featuring free artist-led workshops, activities and live entertainment, followed by a mass procession around Battersea Park.

The History of May Day May Day has for hundreds of years been a day of ritual, festival and revelry, marking the beginning of Summer. In England, May Day festivities are recorded as far back as the middle ages, and it is associated with the Maypole, the Green Man, May Queens, Beltane fires, Morris dancing, mischief and tomfoolery.

With links to Robin Hood, pre-Christian tradition and the suggestion of Morris Dancing as a bawdy emulation of courtly dance, it can be proposed that the May Day Festival became popular as licensed transgression and a symbolic act of insurgency against the powers of the Church and ruling classes. This unruly day of freedom and anti-authoritarianism was chosen as an ideal date for Labour Day, at its inception a strike to demand an eight hour working day, starting with the Hyde Park Demonstrations of 1890.

Produced in collaboration with Pump House Gallery

Funded by Arts of England, Awards for All, Wandsworth Council, Lifelong Learning, Family Learning, Walter St John

Artists included: David Aylward & Rediscovered Urban Rituals, Helena Bryant, Richard DeDomenici, Mat Fraser, Michele Griffiths, Platform: Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa, ResonanceFM, Bob & Roberta Smith.

  • When April - May 2007

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