Sean Dissington || October 21st
ADP Riot was glorious. Jimmy Cauty’s exhibit gave people from Stoke the chance to look at a world famous piece of art, and they loved it. From a packed opening night to passers-by stealing a peek as they head into town ADP puzzled, challenged and delighted residents for over a week.
To see it off local artist Martin Gooding worked with Airspace’s Glenn Stoker to curate a local artists’ response to Jimmy’s work, inspired by the Pottery Riots of 1842 and also taking a more contemporary view of politics and fairness within society.
It’s rare that you see a nihilist skeleton (Ben Mc Donald-Evans) shouting one liners to the tune of one note, or cardboard boxes speaking about their experiences of mental health and employment – not to mention real-life politicians such as Christian Wright (Richard Redwin) taking the time to ask the people what they want, and then offer them exactly that – or not, they may have changed their minds.
There are people making names for themselves in our art scene by doing what they love, and it’s great to witness. The last hurrah of the riot was light-hearted but poignant, shining a light on things we wish weren’t true, but are. People riot or express civil disobedience for real reasons, injustice, oppression, unfairness. These things are as pervasive in our society today as they were in 1842. We have the tools to challenge them without taking up arms but we can’t become immune to them. To do so is to become immune to the suffering of people just like us, and there is no forgiving that.