Bread and Circus

20 July 2012 to 12 August 2012


Bread and Circuses” (or bread and games) Latin: panem et circenses) is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement, the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself. The phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, and/or the mere satisfaction of the immediate, shallow requirements of a populace.

Barka is a young upcoming artist born in Britain to Jamaican parents. His thoughtful approach to creating work considers the place he currently finds himself in and questions the role of an artist in a Bread and Circus society? With the London Olympics being the most expensive games in history, costing 8.4 billion pounds during a world wide recession and in a city which erupted just 12 months ago due to young people’s frustration, lack of opportunities and high youth unemployment, Barka asks; does the artist to follow suit and capitalize on these events that capture the mind by producing works that justify and support the euphoria? Or does the artist offer a critique of society by producing work that is considered radical and or anti establishment? Not wanting to be passive in this Bread and Circus moment, Barka presents us with images that are emotive, thought provoking and yet powerfully intoxicating Using recycled and reclaimed materials, Barka Reflects on personal experiences and connects these to fantasies with hero’s, villian’s and Queens, the work presented in this exhibition are bold graphic statements, combining text and image, reconfiguring and redefining familiar images to highlight the tension between linguistic and pictorial description.

Barka studied Graphic Design, Typography and Digital Media at the University of the Arts, London College of Communication before concentrating on developing his artistic practice. Last year Barka undertook a residency at Wasanii International Artist workshop Naivasha, Kenya, He later stayed on in Nairobi, Kenya to co-curate a group show ‘hysterical injustice’, which was an investigation into economic dependencies, trade and globalization in Kenya. He has shown in a number of group exhibitions in London, Kenya and later this year he will be showing in New York. Bread and Circus id Barka’s first solo exhibition in London.

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Image: The Noble Savage, 2012, mixed media on canvas