Woke up to the joyful news that Beeston Council, Nottingham, under the guidance of their Civic Society, has decided to allow local road tunnels to be spray-painted with graffiti. According to Jeanie Barton of the society, the arrival of unintelligible writing in thick black lines and accompanying childlike bubbles in sugary colours is a ‘poignant’ commemoration of fifty years of ‘Hip Hop,’ a black music genre also known as rap music, originating in the Bronx, New York in the 1970s. The Beeston Civic Society website tells us, ‘Since the 1970s when graffiti was born as protest art in North America, spray painting has been an under the radar form of creative expression. This agreement enables expression by Nottingham’s artists to be both safe and permitted at this particular site moving forwards.’ ‘Moving forwards,’ or rather despoiling the environment with this sort of squalor is now considered, ‘progressive.’ If you don’t approve, you are racist. If a connection with black music had not been established and a group of white working-class youths requested the council let them loose with the spray paint, one wonders what the response would have been. But that is a racist speculation.
A new exhibition opens soon in Woodstock, an upmarket Oxfordshire village, entirely based on the work of migrant women. According to the curators, ‘South Asians of every generation living in the UK manage a minefield of the sliding scale of code-switching between white-ness and brown-ness. We are now in a landscape where many South Asians feel more comfortable embracing influences from eastern and western cultures, which has come after decades of rejecting our own heritage in order to feel like we fit in.’
One wonders about that ‘rejection.’ Having lived in Wolverhampton, London and now Oxford I have always seen large numbers of Muslim women and girls in traditional dress, often walking several paces behind their husbands on the pavements. A recent report, on the ultra-culturally sensitive BBC Woman’s Hour, stated that nearly a hundred and forty thousand Asian women in the UK are ‘living with the effects of FGM.’ Those are the ones who’ve been recorded by doctors, usually in maternity units when their plight becomes obvious. Exact figures are unknown as the practice is illegal and hidden. The same goes for forced marriage. Last year three hundred and forty cases were reported. The charity Karma Nirvana, which made a report to the government in 2021 citing cases in Hull and Middlesborough, says that child marriages occur regularly in the UK, ‘hidden in plain sight.’ In August last year, the Government raised the legal age for marriage to eighteen but religious marriages which are not formally registered are legally permitted to occur at any age in the UK, with girls as young as ten sometimes married off. Then we have the lovely old tradition of sweated (slave) labour by fashion chains including Boohoo, which has also proved difficult to tackle in UK cities such as Leicester. Then there was the issue of sexual grooming in the north, perhaps traditions some would prefer to lose, perhaps not. The Woodstock Gallery asserts that the loss of South Asian tradition in that community, ‘Has resulted in a huge generation gap with the third generation who are thirsty and hungry to learn about our own cultural backgrounds. Languages, cuisines, religions, and clothing are disappearing; and our children are learning about these things as outsiders and tourists.’
News of this exhibition was greeted with great glee on my WhatsApp site, with someone suggesting it will be a much needed, ‘corrective’ to the ‘dominance of white men in the art world.’ Even a brief glance at the visual arts and publishing show that those oppressors have now been all but erased; the artist of the current zeitgeist is Sonia Boyce OBE, RA, ‘Professor of Black Art & Design’ who represented the UK last year at the Venice Biennale. The Turner Prize, 2022, was taken by Veronica Ryan from Montserrat. A look through this month’s Artist & Illustrator Magazine has thirteen features, seven by women artists, three about women painters.
Race, black not white, and sexual politics now constitute Art in Britain and the US and that is where the funding goes. Last year, the government has notoriously cut funding to highly acclaimed groups such as the English National Opera and the Britten Sinfonia, giving it instead to the BAME Chineke! Orchestra, handed a grant of £2.1 million, despite its leader Chi-Chi Nwanoku being forced to step down and the Charities Commission stepping in to investigate. Writer and critic Alexander Adams noted in the January issue of The Jackdaw art magazine, that The Annual Conference of the Museums Association (MA) a society founded in 1889 to provide technical guidance to museum staff, had opened under the title, ‘Make Change Happen,’ with six Muslim women on stage, four wearing hijabs. Above them, a photo of some Glaswegian men from the 1930s photographed outside an art gallery. In front a large screen menu with the words: ‘I Don’t See Myself Here. The MA passed a resolution to turn UK museums and galleries into platforms for the empowerment of marginalised groups, but only certain ones; white working-class boys forget it. Any argument against this will be met by cries of racism and/or Islamophobia. The MA also had on its agenda, ‘Creating an anti-racist country – practical lessons from Welsh museums,’ and ‘Disrupting narratives of racist science.’ We once went to museums and galleries on a wet Sunday to pass the time, learn a bit about the past and admire artists we loved. Most of those were by dead white males, increasingly secreted in the cupboard. What you will experience now in many galleries is an attempt at often state-supported social engineering. Better stay home and read the works of Michel Foucault.
Absolutely everything and everyone must be brought into conformity with “diversity, inclusion, equity” including past literature, art, road names and public memorials, and especially the brains of the young. Gleichschaltung.
Look at the RADIO TIMES for 25-31 March for a taste of the porridge to come.
Let’s have cheerful art that one might want in the home. Stuff that involves beauty, skill, pleasant sensations, traditional knowledge. It’s often representative art.
Never look at gloomy political art claiming to explore issues of race, identity, representation, social justice, sexuality, alienation, sustainability, colonialism, migration, hierarchy or privilege. It’s almost always left wing and finger-wagging.
Taxpayer-sponsored art these days is seldom for works which taxpayers would choose. Corporate-sponsored art is seldom for shareholders but paid for in order to virtue signal or to dispose of an altruistic budget.
I am very often reading articles of this type, and seeing news reports and other commentaries on YouTube, for instance. Like the authors, I feel most concerned about this awful development.
What interests me, however, is why all this is happening… I mean, all this Government funding and grants etc etc must surely – surely??? – be as a serious response to meeting community needs, expectations and concerns. If not, then why do our Governments and Local Administrations encourage this sort of thing? Are there, seriously, Votes to he gained by funding this stuff? How does the Economy, as a whole, benefit? And if not, then why is it happening?
“This is not a passing fad of a lunatic fringe obsessed with gender issues, race and colonialism – and a chance to virtue signal at every opportunity.
“This is a cultural sea change brought about by the infiltration of the university campus into newsrooms, boardrooms, charities, media, civil service and public agencies.
“It started in America and is now happening everywhere in the West, including Britain…. The aim of today’s culture warriors is to change the face of society…not just by determining the language but by closing down debate.” – Andrew Neil, Daily Mail, 18 March 2023.
I have been documenting, explaining and warning against this totalitarian development for over 25 years, facing in sequence ignorance and incredulity, abuse and aspersion, complacency and cowardice, finally collaboration and capitulation.
For anyone who still wants to know what has been going on, I recommend first of all the books by Michael William, then James Lindsay and Douglas Murray.
Resistance is NOT useless, but it needs intelligent strategies.
It’s a foul land we’re in now. I, as an artist, don’t want to participate in it. Where would one go? I’m considering setting up my own Degenerate Art Exhibition in which only my work would show – maybe I’ll invite a few others, white men, straight white men, gay white men, so long as they don’t flaunt it, white women (Jane, wanna join in?). I’ll have a big poster with a picture of a migrant ship on it and a cross straight through it set against a background of English pastoral. Any sponsors out there?
(Location will be in a field behind Jack Hargreaves’ old house in Dorset. In a tent.)
TV’s Emmerdale, the quintessential English village, has a black vicar and a polyethnic population, and Coronation Street in a quintessential northern town has a gay vicar and a polyethnic population; both soaps run continuous homosexual stories and add anti-racist lessons, as do Grantchester and Endeavour. Art copied nature, now it’s the other way round, as the dwindling White British are psychologically prepared for the Great Replacement by the racially aware and heterosexually fecund south Asians and black Africans.
May I suggest to readers that they subscribe to ST GEORGE FOR ENGLAND as well as SALISBURY REVIEW? Phone the Royal Society of St George @ 020 3225 5011. There is some hope of green shoots amid the concrete, the weeds, the sewage.