Bob and Roberta Smith's new show champions the value of art and arts education for everyone

The artist's new show campaigns around the message: Art is Your Human Right.


A new exhibition brings together new and old works by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith - aka Patrick Brill - that campaign around the message, Art is Your Human Right.

Art - along with compassion - is one of the first casualties of austerity, but Smith wants to highlight the value of art in enriching the lives to the general public.

He's also a big advocate for arts education - both for the 'artistic' and for those who don't consider themselves to be - which is encapsulated in his artwork All Schools Should Be Art School, the central slogan of which became a rousing cry for those opposed to ex- and current education secretaries Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan's plans to damage arts education in schools.


The exhibition includes films, painted placards, banners and a van covered with slogans.

A new artwork, Dear Mayoral Candidate... asks the politicians who are trying to get elected as London mayor next year - such as newly selected Labour candidate Sadiq Khan - to sign up to five pledges about the arts.

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The pledges will be printed on postcards, which visitors to the exhibition can send to the mayoral candidates.

"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," says Bob and Roberta Smith. "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."


Education-focussed new works include the film Art is Your Human Right: Why can't politics be more?, about Smith's attempt to get elected as an MP against the much-loathed Gove - which follows his Letter To Gove from 2011 (shown here) and pieces that highlight the importance of foundation art courses and art within adult learning courses.


The exhibition takes place from October 16 this year until January 31 2016 at the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, London. It's a fitting location as William Morris was an advocate for inclusiveness in the arts, saying "I do not want art for a few, any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few."

Alongside the exhibition, Smith will be creating works with young people - the results of which will be displayed at the Gallery from November 18 under the name, Letters for Everyday.

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