Artivism, Brexit and the Good Migrant
Alexandra Lazar, PhD
Independent artist and art historian, executive member of the Artists' Union England, London
In the aftermath of Brexit, as Theresa May prepares Britain to leave the EU at the Conservative conference in October 2016, she declares: “if you believe you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere”. We know that such positioning is a cynical ploy to disallow policies that genuinely address the issues of poverty, unemployment, housing shortage and migration; but what can we do with this knowledge? How, if at all, are the post-Gezi artistic models influencing the current day politics? Is art for pleasure, protest or profit, and what does each of these categories mean at present? Can we afford the cultural discourse that ignores the entrenchment of the problem on the premise that it's "good enough"? Can artists' unions address some of these issues, including raising awareness and solidarity? What is a Good Migrant? This paper will give some examples of current cultural practices in Britain and reflect on the position of artist-migrant from my own perspective, as well as drawing from the examples such as Soft Brexitvs neoliberal artivist affiliations, the work of the AUE, and others.
Keywords: Brexit, migration, artivism, global capitalism, precarity, protest
Alexandra Lazar is a British-Serbian artist, writer and art historian. She writes about contemporary artistic concerns including migration, culture memory, practices of resistance and positions of culture. Her personal art explores freedom, perception, language, metamorphosis and memory. Alexandra lives in London, regularly contributes to Politika and Supervizuelna, consults on the contemporary art from the Balkans and sits on the executive committee of the Artists Union England.