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On Behalf of the Planet

Patricia Wilson Smith

Ken Turner at the locked down St Ives Festival 2020

On 12 September this year painter and performance artist Ken Turner took to the streets of St Ives in Cornwall to express his outrage and concern for the future of humanity and the planet.
At a healthy advanced age, Ken’s crusading spirit is, if anything, stronger: his will to be heard more determined. In the past decade Ken’s protest paintings have filled his large studio near St Ives, where he has lived and worked for over 30 years. His performances have addressed the inadequacies of mainstream art, the paucity of art education and critical discussion, and the absence of genuine, disinterested support for the grass-roots. More recently, his painting performance engaged with the impact of Covid-19.
We Can’t Let This Go On featured the artist riding his electric tricycle through the winding streets, broadcasting an unequivocal mantra to passers-by:

WE CAN’T LET THIS GO ON
WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WORLD
WE NEED LESS GREED
WE NEED LESS CORRUPTION
WE NEED MORE EQUALITY
WE NEED MORE RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER
WE NEED TO RESTRAIN COMPETITION FOR PROFIT
WE CAN’T LET THIS GO ON
WE NEED LESS GREED AND MORE EQUALITY
WE NEED ARTISTS TO FIGHT CORRUPTION IN THE ART WORLD
WE NEED THE VISUAL ARTS TO BE LESS ABOUT MONEY AND MORE ABOUT HUMANITY
WE CAN’T GO ON LIKE THIS

Bystanders were in all likelihood bemused, amused, confused… but they are not likely to forget quickly the vision of the man in white who has the courage to share his anxieties and concern for humanity with a public that seems, largely, to ignore the warning signs writ large across the planet.

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Volume 35 no 2 November / December 2020

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