Read any newspaper, magazine, blog, or Instagram feed and you’ll be bombarded with information. Speak to your neighbour in the street or a guy on the tube and they’ll chat to you about the news, a funny meme, or the latest hashtag campaign they saw on social media that morning. Later that day you forward them what you've seen on to your network of friends (and followers).
How often do you stop and consider whether what you communicate is your own voice or whether it has been manipulated by someone else?
Propaganda is everywhere. It’s all around us. We’re plied with information (or misinformation) from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. We consume and accept most of what we read, but do we spend enough time analysing these viewpoints? Political parties and media institutions have long been using propaganda to drive us apart. They hone in on our differences in an attempt to polarise us.
Over the past few years we have witnessed some historic shifts in the political landscape. We’ve entered a phase where propaganda has made people more marginalised than ever. Brexit divided the most cohesive of households and created huge rifts within families. Overnight, Trump managed to divide a whole nation. Political propaganda has played a big part in driving these divisions.
The concept of Happy Propaganda has been rattling around in my head for over two years. From Rich Enough to be Batman to Masks of Fear, my work has always been described as propaganda. This new collection amplifies my inner angst and bottled frustration at not being able to have a voice in a world that's fraught with depressing news.
The collection ridicules political parties, global world leaders and institutions through sarcasm and humour. It is subversive, and, like my other collections, continues to be a catalyst for thought provoking conversation. But not only that, it’s a collection that aims to bring people together.
Can we disarm the whole propaganda machine by not believing everything we read? Can we work together to eliminate the 'them and 'us' culture? Can we make people feel like we really do give a shit about them? Is now the time to spread Happy Propaganda?
The Happy Propaganda Launch Party is happening on Thursday 17th November 6-9pm at my studio in Saffron Walden. With complimentary drinks provided by our friends at 3am Brewery.
To reserve a ticket please click the Eventbrite link here.