The Burg Arts project is a community arts billboard in the St Werburghs neighbourhood of East Bristol, UK. In 2018 Adblock Bristol re-launched the project working with local groups such as the St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association and St Werburghs City Farm.
AdBlock Bristol is working towards a city that celebrates its creativity and independence, where residents have a say in what they see in the city’s public spaces. They oppose billboards and other corporate outdoor advertising, and promote a visual environment which reflects the unique identity of our city, the values of local communities and the local economy.
NOTHING TO SEE HERE is Jonathan Rolfe's contribution to The Burg Arts project and was on display in June 2020. It uses an illustration from 1882 by unknown engravers depicting the Queen Square riot in 1831, part of the Bristol Reform riots. At the time Britain was a divided country with only 10% of the male population eligible to vote. The riots were in response to a local magistrate telling a bare-faced lie in Parliament (who would do such a thing?) when he claimed that Bristol did not want electoral reform.
The artwork plays on brash advertising styles often used to convince us of things we know are not true. It references the current trend for some politicians to bluntly deny or contradict any truth that does not suit them. It also links to the notion that large-scale corporate advertising obscures so much of our city.
Bristol has a fine tradition of radicalism. Check out the Bristol Radical History Group for more information.
There's a short version of this video on YouTube and on my Instagram account.
Prints of this artwork are now available in a size that will actually fit in your house.