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With Volcanic Rock, an Artist Takes the Heat Out of Brexit

Ed Nash, a Nashville-based British artist, has created a volcanic rock painting of the UK flag in response to the backwards politics of Brexit.

by Andrew Nunes
Jul 11 2016, 1:35pm

Ed Nash, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, 2016. Images courtesy of the artist

Artists the world over have been (rightfully) up in arms since last month’s unfortunate Brexit decision, marking the UK's decisive return to retrogressive and xenophobic politicking. While England remains turbulent and distressed, artist and hoverboarding painter Ed Nash has been equally affected, despite his somewhat removed and unusual position.

Born and raised in England but currently based out of Nashville, the artist’s national identity was already a complicated one. His homeland’s departure from the EU has only managed to further sever his national identity. “Living in the US, I am detached from the decision making process and to a large extent detached from the decision making process and to a large extent detached from the realities of its effect, so it is perhaps surprising how emotionally affected I was,” Nash explains to The Creators Project.

As a response to Brexit, Nash has created MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, an enormous eight-by-four-foot flag of the UK. Its rugged, craggy surface is meant to resemble the texture of volcanic rock, a metaphor for the UK’s recent political happenings. “Volcanic lava that is initially destructive and disordered will become new land, and can in fact clean the environment and create more fertile soil,” Nash explains. “Right now, there is an atmosphere of almost anarchy and total disorder in the UK, yet what has passed cannot be undone and a new political landscape and cultural terrain will form from that disorder.”

Ed Nash next to MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, 2016.

The flag itself is made of a combination of UV pigment, paint, glue, and real lava rock, a tricky fusion that Nash tells us required much experimentation to properly resemble lava and still look like the UK flag from a distance. MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY is also equipped with remotely controlled LEDs in the white parts of the flag, which resemble a sort of S.O.S. distress beacon when activated. Now that the UK is decidedly on its own, who will come to its aid in time of crisis?

View more of Ed Nash’s paintings and sculptures here

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