This week Big Issue sellers become key players in the art world. You know how this works: vendors buy magazines for half the cover price, sell them on to brilliant buyers and keep the profit.
Every edition we put together is a masterpiece, of course, but this one a little more so. The cover has been created by acclaimed street artist My Dog Sighs who has also curated a special look at how art reclaims the lost, from entire areas in decline to rusty tin cans and a shuttered Sainsbury’s.
His art – and that of the fellow artists he’s included – is startling, inspiring, provocative. It can be disruptive too, which is why you might spot signs of My Dog Sighs dotted throughout the pages, bringing meaning to the margins.
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In our age of constant, mind-numbing information overload, art plays an ever-more crucial role in drawing attention to big issues and challenging dogma. Especially public art, which by its nature requires us to participate, to decide the meaning for ourselves.
Last month The Big Issue spoke to Jen Reid, the activist who climbed on top of Edward Colston’s plinth in Bristol after the slave trader’s statue was toppled and chucked in the harbour. The vacant space above the empty plinth symbolises so much about the unspoken, the unspeakable, the loss. The plaque remains. “Erected by citizens of Bristol as a memorial of one of the most virtuous and wise sons of the city – AD 1895.” Art can measure a change in attitudes. It was the virtue and wisdom of Bristolians that brought down the statue too.