As David Cameron and the Conservative party achieved a majority in the House of Commons in the recent UK election, other leaders fell. At the Woolff Gallery in London, unique portraits by Anne Marie Wright are also coming down at the end of the exhibition “What do You think – 2015 Election Special”.
Anne Marie Wright uses written or spoken texts from or about individuals to create their portraits. For this exhibition, portraits of David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage and Natalie Bennett were drawn using views collected from the public on Twitter through an account Anne Marie Wright set up for each politician with the acronym WDYTO (What Do You Think Of), the comments ranging from “vaguely complimentary, to absolute condemnation”. Visitors to the exhibition have been able to contribute in a guest book to a future portrait of the winning party which will be exhibited later this year.
Included in her show are portraits of other leaders including the Queen, Winston Churchill, J F Kennedy and Nelson Mandella and figures from the world of entertainment including Madonna and the Beatles. In retrospect, given the triumph of the SNP in Scotland, there is a missing portrait here of Nicola Sturgeon, but her show has hints of another election to come – the Presidential election in the US – as it includes a portrait of a younger Hillary Clinton.
“We live in a world made smaller by social media. Everybody has an opinion to be shared, an online footprint that will last forever. The urge to go viral. We live in a world where, the way we communicate has moved on, we have the power to create heroes and villains in 140 characters. My latest exhibition “What do you think of?” is an attempt to capture this, to take a snapshot of the thoughts and opinions of the www. generation. Sound bites manipulate, perceptions are created, people become overnight sensations,people take to Twitter to rant, grieve and inform. Times have changed. This is now the world we live in. I will gather views by Twitter feed, email, Facebook to name a few, in order to create public perception pieces – turning your words into art. Please RT.” (Anne Marie Wright)