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Ben Turnbull mounts protest against Trump in advance of UK visit
The posters, some of them 10 feet high, are being placed in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton and other cities in prime sites.

LONDON.- British artist Ben Turnbull in collaboration with guerrilla arts organisation flyingleaps is staging a protest against Donald Trump with an agitprop poster campaign across the U.K featuring his 2019 artwork, MADe In America.

The posters, some of them 10 feet high, are being placed in London, Glasgow, Manchester, Brighton and other cities in prime sites. In London they will appear outside Buckingham Palace, where the President will visit the Queen on Wednesday as well as Westminster and the U. S Embassy in Vauxhall.

Trump arrived in London on December 2 for a three-day visit to mark the seventieth anniversary of NATO.

MADe in America is part of Turnbull’s ongoing American heroes and villains series — others have included Martin Luther King and Lee Harvey Oswald — and is made from the American humour magazine MAD. His face and hair are cut-outs of the publication’s ‘cover boy’, Alfred E. Neuman. Closer inspection reveal that his jacket, shirt and tie are made up of comic book villains.

Says Turnbull: “Using MAD seemed entirely logical. In fact, given the subject it would have been illogical to use any other. Of course, I wouldn’t describe Trump as being that himself, but since winning the presidency, he’s caused an entire nation to become slightly unhinged, not just his core, but his detractors, too. So, in some sense, it’s more a portrait of a nation than of him.”

“With all the talk of the U.S buying up the NHS, this seemed the right time to get the posters out there. I hope he likes them!”

Staged in collaboration with flyingleaps, the itinerant organisation that mounts artistic interventions in public places in response to contemporary politics, events and ideas.

At a time when image-led content and advertising is accessible via multiple technologies, the posters invite the viewer to consider the role that artists and visual activism can play in our everyday experience, highlighting the power of images to change, challenge and empower shared beliefs.

From Brexit and political power, to utopian visions of technology and our own impact on the environment, the posters are reflective of events and ideas affecting society today. For example, in Strong and Stable My Arse (2017) Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller adulterates the phrase repeatedly used by Prime Minister Theresa May during the 2017 General Election to highlight the hollowness of crass political sloganeering.

Says Adrian Burnham, founder of flyingleaps: ‘What we see – and what we don’t see – surrounding us in the urban environment is, amongst other things, an index of political, economic and civic power. We are constantly bombarded with messages from advertising, coaxed and cordoned by signs and boundaries; the architecture of the city itself imposes limits on people’s access and agency. Adroit works by artists and visual activists across numerous media and almost all forms of urban intervention can expose and counter corporate malfeasance that government can’t.

‘It can address the psychological effects of contemporary living, and it can do this in various voices. It’s great there’s such a range of work appearing in the streets – some disturb and affront, while others delight and are more thoughtfully provocative. There are others that manage to make you laugh and, at the same time, question or raise a social or political issue that needs challenging.’

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