An anonymous artist has bought the art of poetry to the streets of south west London this Christmas, as the public prepares to emerge from the UK’s second nationwide lockdown.
‘Stencil Stanza’ entails ten site specific stencils sprayed onto pavements across London with instillations in Fulham, Battersea, Shepherds Bush, and Notting Hill, each featuring a pair of lines from renowned poet Christopher Logue’s poem ‘I shall vote Labour’.
The artist behind the project explained how ‘I shall vote Labour’ was the natural fit for his latest project due to the witty nature of Christopher Logue’s work, providing the people of London with a timely artistic lift on the back of a troubled year for all, courtesy of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I have always been a strong admirer of the way Christopher Logue uses his wit and poster style to separate the art of poetry from its literary and academic world, and bring it straight to the people.
“Poetry is something so uniquely human which we can all share in, and this feels especially prescient after a year where a great many of the things which make us feel human have been taken away.”
Christopher Logue (1926-2011), unlike many of his other literary colleagues, was a poet who spent a lot of his time with artists, explaining his tendencies to exhibit his work on alternative mediums such as through posters.
He was inspired by the 1964 general election to write ‘Why I shall vote Labour’ where Harold Wilson’s party narrowly edged out the Tories, and provides his readers with political observations coated with a dash of surrealism, pointing out the growing public disillusionment with politics.
I shall vote Labour I shall vote Labour because God votes Labour. I shall vote Labour to protect the sacred institution of The Family. I shall vote Labour because I am a dog. I shall vote Labour because upper-class hoorays annoy me in expensive restaurants. I shall vote Labour because I am on a diet. I shall vote Labour because if I don't somebody else will: AND I shall vote Labour because if one person does it everybody will be wanting to do it. I shall vote Labour because if I do not vote Labour my balls will drop off. I shall vote Labour because there are too few cars on the road. I shall vote Labour because I am a hopeless drug addict. I shall vote labour because I failed to be a dollar millionaire aged three. I shall vote Labour because labour will build more maximum security prisons. I shall vote Labour because I want to shop in an all-weather precinct stretching from Yeovil to Glasgow. I shall vote Labour because the Queen's stamp collection is the best in the world. I shall vote labour because deep in my heart I am a conservative.
The Stencil Stanza artist found Logue’s take on the public’s growing disillusionment with politics strikingly reflective of today’s political climate, with the public’s ever growing frustration in the way the Government has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
The artist behind the project hopes that his decision to scatter lines from the poem across London will add to the instillations intriguing nature and create a sense of curiosity amongst the people of London.
He added: “Such as the year has been, people have had all sorts of concerns and worries to deal with and have not had the time to sit down and analyse a piece of literature or poetry.
“Stencil Stanza offers the public a fun and entertaining way of engaging with art in a way you would not normally expect to encounter in your day to day life.”
As a man of many traits, his work takes him into the world of theatre and performance, as well as education and so projects often leading to work alongside councils resulted in anonymity being a priority to him when creating Stencil Stanza.
The anonymous artist has been working across London for the last four years and is currently based in north Kensington, close to Logue’s former patch.
Visit the website of the artist Stencil Stanza to access details of all ten locations and hit the streets to begin your poetry journey across London.