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Bob and Roberta Smith at the Kilkenny Arts Festival

Date uploaded: August 7, 2013

Kilkenny Arts Festival and Butler Gallery present:
Art Makes Children Powerful
curated by Josephine Kelliher & Anna O'Sullivan

Kilkenny Arts Festival dates: 9th August until 18th August 2013.
Opening Events: Saturday 10th August & Sunday 11th August.

Art Makes Children Powerful is the first major Irish presentation of the work of celebrated UK artist Bob and Roberta Smith, who has two names but is actually one person. Bob and Roberta Smith is an artist, an educator, a musician and an activist. His visual art practice includes drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, installation, performance and public art. Mostly known for his extremely accomplished text based sign paintings, painted in a cursive hand on found wood, cardboard and canvas, the results are colourful, bold and deeply expressive. In addition to telling the stories of his life, Smith's writings explore the relationship between art, politics, and society, supported by an inimitable sense of humour, often the sharpest tool in the box. Smith's DIY approach appropriates the languages of folk, punk and the alternative protest movements to personalise political sloganeering.

Kilkenny becomes the centre of the artworld for ten days with a citywide exhibition that has affectionately taken on the moniker 'Bobumenta', after 'Documenta', an exhibition of contemporary art that happens every five years throughout the unassuming city of Kassel in Germany. Starting from the assertion that everyone is good enough to make art, Smith turns Kilkenny City into an art school.

Public ownership of public issues is important to Bob and Roberta Smith. He perceptively taps into the Zeitgeist of our times with compassion and understanding. Instead of remaining mute about the impact of our nation's recent extraordinary fiscal, political and social changes, Smith provides a platform for us to express our opinions. During the ten-day festival, there are several opportunities to get involved, be it saying your piece on the Art Soap Box in Rothe House or in providing your response to Smith's 'What's What' questions emblazoned on banners positioned on the River Nore in the centre of the city. 'What is a Bank For'? 'What is Next for Europe'? Your response could end up on the walls of the Butler Gallery through the run of the exhibition.

Bob and Roberta Smith is a very smart hat-wearing artist. He incites and inspires and rallies us to really think about the world we live in. He stirs things up and encourages a response. He makes Democratic Art. He can be tough and serious but also very funny. He exposes the underbelly. He is not afraid of not being liked but hey what's not to like? He is the real deal and we are delighted to host him in Kilkenny to unleash his considerable talents in multiple venues to express how Art Makes Children Powerful.

Art Makes Children Powerful is more than a celebration of the work of one artist: it turns the whole city into an artwork and puts a metaphorical brush in everyone's hand. So get ready to make some art!

This exhibition takes place over several venues in Kilkenny City.

All venues are open to the public.
BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH "WALK & TALK" exhibition tour with the artist (Heritage Council) AT 1pm
ART MAKES CHILDREN POWERFUL Opening Reception Butler Gallery 3:00pm-5:00pm

*All venues are open to the public.
MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN ART the world of Bob and Roberta Smith produced/Directed by John Rogers, Set Theatre AT 1.30pm, Free screening.
BOB AND ROBERTA SMITH in conversation with Steve Bierley, The Hole in the Wall AT 3pm, free but ticketed event.

Click here for more information.

Bob and Roberta Smith: 'Soapbox'

Bob and Roberta Smith: 'Soapbox'