Over recent weeks, protests against rising living costs and the energy crisis have spiked in the art world. Just Stop Oil have made numerous headlines after throwing soup at a Van Gogh painting at London’s National Gallery, whilst other activists from the coalition of groups have been arrested for glueing their heads to a Johannes Vermeer painting, as well as descending on a range of UK government buildings as the targets for orange paint attacks. Art is now well and truly the battleground for trying to get the message across that action against oil needs to happen, and fast.
Now, Art is Coming – an exhibition showcasing a range of artists and multi-hyphenate creatives – is taking place in Manchester as a protest against the Tory government and the cost of living crisis. As many of us are starting to feel the effects of rising prices, all whilst watching the government incompetently scramble to address the issues, working class creatives in the north are taking matters into their own hands in the ways they know best.
“I came up with the name Art is Coming because it’s like ‘winter is coming’, and I was so scared for it,” says Gracie Brackstone, the organiser of the protest exhibition. “We live in England, one of the richest countries in the world where billionaires are literally avoiding tax. I was thinking, this just isn’t fair anymore. So, I wanted do a massive protest exhibition to say fuck all these people, [the government] need to care about us, because without us this country wouldn’t function in the same way.”
The exhibition taking place at Manchester’s Antwerp Mansion on Thursday is a celebration of creativity amongst those who feel stranded by the government. Uniting working class creatives, sex workers, queer communities and people of colour, Art is Coming aims to highlight how the various groups within the UK are being left behind once again.
Art is Coming Exhibition, 5-11pm
November 3rd at Antwerp Mansion