Recently, I had a very contrasting experience as an artist. Over Easter holiday I was twisting balloons in a fancy hotel next to Kensington Palace for an Easter party. It was quite an elaborate affair with face painting, crafts, games and balloon modelling by yours truly. From there, I went to join my fellow artists at Parliament Square to join the Red Brigade to provide a gentle, non-violent performance that moved slowly through the chaos and chanting of the protests. We represented the blood that flows through the veins of all species. As we moved through the throngs of protesters and police like a viscous substance pushing through cracks I could see how much of an impact we were making on the onlookers, the tourists and the other protesters. In a world where there is so much of an imbalance of power, wealth, resources and opportunity as artists we want to do something. I feel like it is our duty to hold up a mirror to society and inspire individuals to reject the system that is broken.
I felt conflicted that day going from one world where it is business as usual and the biggest worry in that moment for those families at an Easter party was whether they would get sunburnt on an Easter egg hunt. "Lovely weather we're having". It's 25 degrees at Easter. To a beautiful, peaceful protest full of people wanting to shift the balance and do something about the fact that there are people in a hotel spending a lot of money on a Hallmark Holiday with zero connection to the farm where that cocoa is coming at the expense of that 3rd world nation. Firmly placed in and kept in that 3rd world by the rich who have plundered and pillaged those nations over hundreds of years.
So how do I justify it? I guess I just validate myself as a modern day Robin Hood - Steal from the rich and give to the planet. I would not have the freedom in my schedule to protest, to volunteer or to grow my own vegetables if it weren't for entertaining as a court jester.