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Royal Academy artist’s new exhibition

Acclaimed artist and Waltham Forest resident Bob and Roberta Smith RA will unveil his latest exhibition next month at the William Morris Gallery.

Entitled ‘Art is Your Human Right: The Artistic Campaigns of Bob and Roberta Smith’, it will be the first time that so many of the artist’s campaign works have been shown together, along with substantial new works.

Bob and Roberta Smith – the pseudonym of artist Patrick Brill – uses text as an art form, creating colourful slogans in support of creativity in politics and education.

The exhibition, which opens to the public on Friday 16 October, will include placards, sculpture, banners and even a slogan-covered ‘campaigning’ van, as well as a new film specially commissioned for the exhibition. Smith will also present a new work, Dear Mayoral Candidate, asking London’s prospective mayoral candidates to sign up to an arts education pledge.

The display will spill out of the exhibition galleries into the historic parts of the Grade II* listed building, which is owned and managed by Waltham Forest Council. The new display builds on the Gallery’s programme of socially-engaged, contemporary solo exhibitions that respond to Morris’s legacy, by artists including Jeremy Deller, Yinka Shonibare and Grayson Perry. 

A related exhibition, Letters for Everyday, will open at the Gallery on 18 November, displaying work made by young people with Smith this August. 

Bob and Roberta Smith said: “This show takes forward my campaigns, which have been purely about art education, to thinking about art as fundamental to freedom of expression for all of us. Morris had a deep understanding of the importance of art in every part of our lives, which really speaks to me. I want the Mayoral candidates in the 2016 election to sign up to my ‘Morrisian pledges’ and I am inviting the public to get involved and help me spread the word.”

Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “Bob and Roberta Smith is not only one of Britain’s most important contemporary artists, he’s also a resident of Waltham Forest and an active force in the borough’s artistic community. We’re thrilled to be hosting this provocative and thoughtful exhibition, which brings politics and art together just as Morris did.”

The William Morris Gallery(Lloyd Park, Forest Road, E17 4PP) is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm. Entry is free. 

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