Donald Trump in a Mexican wrestling mask, Kim Jong-un in Mickey Mouse ears and Vladimir Putin in a Pussy Riot-esque balaclava; not a standard Saturday night in with our favourite world leaders, but rather the screenprints from my ‘Masks of Fear’ collection. The work conveys Trump’s xenophobic traits against Mexican people, Kim Jong-un’s deep resentment for western society and Putin’s views on the LGBT community and the Pussy Riot movement. I like to use my work to start conversations about wealth, political and social justice. Following the results of the American election, I had too many questions, one of them being: “Who are the people behind these masks of fear running some of the most powerful countries in the world?”. It seems other people felt the same, with the Trump and Jong-un pieces selling quicker than I could have ever expected.
One of my first pieces ‘Rich Enough to be Batman?’ seems to have resonated with people in a similar way, it’s an image of the Queen wearing a batman mask and it’s still the most popular to this day. With this one I’m posing an important question: “If you had enough money would you become Batman and use your money to fight crime and protect the vulnerable? Or would you splash out on expensive things for your own pleasure?”. I find it fascinating to see how people interpret this one, some see the mask as me depicting the Queen as the devil with horns, it makes others stop and ask more questions about the role of the British Monarchy.
Being part of ‘Trumpocalypse: what now?’ anti-inauguration, a one-off exhibition at the Sacred Gallery in New York has shown me how dark satire and humour within art can unite people from across the globe. Perhaps this re-emergence of political art is the only way we’ll survive not only the next four years with Trump but also the current bureaucratic climate.
To find out more about me or to drop me a line visit www.heathkane.co.uk