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Devilishly good exhibition takes on NHS, Trump… and Brexit

17 May, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Brendan Pickett

BY day Brendan Pickett was working as an admin officer in the NHS, but by night he would escape the sea of bureaucracy by pouring himself into his art.

Now the artist’s first exhibition, at the Ringcross Community Centre in Holloway, explores his experiences in the belly of the NHS machine, while also taking on wider political and philosophical issues such as Brexit, Trump and the nature of truth.

Mr Pickett said that he used the Cubist style to “reflect the clown world we live in”.

Cubism is a style of painting pioneered by Pablo Picasso that brings different views of subjects onto the same page.

But Mr Pickett also draws on an array of mythological figures and pop culture to add his own twist to the style.

One painting in the “Brexit” section of the exhibition depicts the Devil holding a blue pill and a red pill.

This was inspired by the moment in the sci-fi film The Matrix where the protagonist is given the opportunity to escape the fake world and see what reality actually looks like.

Mr Pickett, who lives in Hackney, said: “Bill Hicks used to say in his old 90s routine ‘wake up America, whoever you vote for, it is the same puppet master who is controlling them’. Brexit was fiery time as well so I thought the Devil was a good character to use.

“This painting brings all of this together.”

The exhibition is set out in four sections called Brexit, Divine Truth & Power, Male Empowerment and Will to Power.

Savvas Panas, who runs the Ringcross Community Centre, said: “It’s great to see Brendan’s work up on the walls.

“We just want to give space to people who will put on exhibitions that spark conversations and debate in the local area.”

Truth and Power: Paintings from the Brexit Era will run until May 25. On the final night, Mr Pickett will perform a selection of his spoken-word poetry and he will read excerpts from his book, Clickbait Rats.


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