Art as political action, written in the sand.


 This weekend, on beaches all over Cornwall, passers-by found the same message written in huge letters in the sand: “We’re with Corbyn!” The messages drew the attention of the national media, with reports on the BBC and ITV news.

The messages in the sand were all part of a planned “mass art action” organized by the artist Stacey Guthrie, who used a Facebook event to encourage the people of Cornwall to rise up and express their support for Corbyn by writing the message “We’re with Corbyn!” in the sand. When the news outlets caught on to the story on Sunday afternoon, it was as if the very beaches of Cornwall had expressed their unanimous support for the Labour leader.

That’s right: as the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party did everything it could to depose its democratically elected leader, the people of Cornwall embraced a mass action masterminded by a pro-Corbyn Cornish artist.

“I wanted to come up with a creative response to Momentum’s call for emergency actions over the weekend,” said Guthrie, referring to the Corbyn supporters’ group, which organized large rallies in cities all over Great Britain this weekend. “I put out a call to my creative friends and one of them suggested writing in the sand,” she continued.

The significance of “writing in the sand,” for Guthrie, is that it’s the perfect antidote to the kind of angry politics that’s arisen in the country since the EU referendum result. With Momentum often caricatured as an angry “mob” and Corbyn himself, only recently, smeared as “lunging” at a reporter, Guthrie’s decision to use sand as the medium for her “mass art action” is celebratory without being overly confrontational.

“I wanted to reach as many people as possible in a way that would provoke curiosity,” she said. “Also, writing in the sand is a very non-threatening way of communicating a message. Other forms of public writing can allow the ‘protestor’ to be pigeonholed as angry or disrespectful of public property… so writing in the sand seemed to be a benign yet powerful way of stating the strength of support for Jeremy Corbyn that is felt by a large number of the population of Cornwall.”

This article is by Andrew Warburton from the culturematters website and the link to the full article is below.

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