Bob and Roberta Smith at the William Morris Gallery

I’m so glad I made the effort to see Art is your Human Right: The artistic campaigns of Bob and Roberta Smith before it closes this Sunday, 31st January 2016.

Bob and Roberta Smith is the pseudonym of contemporary artist and Royal Academician, Patrick Brill.   Enraged by the downgrading of art in schools, the artist decided to fight back.  This exhibition follows his various campaigns from the 2011 painting Letter To Michael Gove, through to running for parliament as an independent candidate in the 2015 general election.

Noted for his use of text as art, Bob and Roberta Smith creates bright and colourful placards and protest art.   I love his eye-catching designs and playful slogans, and of course I totally agree with the sentiments behind the work.

The UK’s creative industries are renowned across the world, and make a huge contribution to the UK economy.   And as someone who works within this sector, I recognise the importance of letting all children have access to the arts and not allowing it to become just a “hobby” available to a privileged few.

Innovation comes from optimism, creativity, risk taking and ART

Letter to Michael Gove, 2011, Bob and Roberta Smith

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William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Walthamstow

The Bob and Roberta Smith exhibition may well have finished by the time you read this,  but it is always worth taking a trip to Walthamstow to visit the William Morris Gallery.   Built in the the early 1740s, this beautiful Georgian villa was the childhood home of the designer, writer and political activist: William Morris.   It is now the only public gallery devoted to his life and legacy.

Refurbished in 2012, the gallery houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Morris’ work.  The beautifully presented permanent displays are spread across nine rooms, taking us from his childhood in Walthamstow,  his later life as a radical socialist and how he went on to inspire and influence a generation of artists and craftspeople.

Along the way we gain an insight into his hugely successful business, Morris & Co, finding out about his early influences and approach to design.   There is a recreation of the firm’s showroom on Oxford Street and a workshop where we can learn all about the traditional skills and techniques used to create their beautifully crafted products.

As you would expect, the gallery itself has it’s own shop selling a range of products featuring some of Morris’ most popular patterns.   Along with a well chosen selection of contemporary crafts and interesting books.

There is also an excellent tea room that uses local suppliers and seasonal ingredients where ever possible.

The gallery is located in Walthamstows’ popular Lloyd park, just 10 mins walk from Walthamstow Central station or a short bus ride from Blackhorse Road.

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Playing with pattern- one of the many interactive displays at the The William Morris Gallery
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