Leeds City College students showcase their work depicting their interpretation of Brexit

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Leeds City College students showcase their work depicting their interpretation of Brexit


With the Brexit deadline looming, and businesses, investors and workers in the UK increasingly becoming perturbed with what the country will look like after the dust settles from the UK's final separation from the EU, one sector often overlooked has turned the negative into a positive, with a group of students taking on the challenge and interpreting their understanding of Brexit, through art.

Several art students from Leeds City College, who were too young to vote during the referendum in 2016,compiled a collection of artwork depicting their thoughts on Brexit.

Predominantly a group of ‘remainers’, the students, who may not have understood how this political decision would affect them, also produced a number of art pieces that are open for interpretation and include paintings, printmaking, illustration and installation.

The exhibition, titled Article 50, took place from 29 March at the Brunswick on North Street and ran until 3 April 2019. Nestled in the heart of Leeds, the traditional pub is a contemporary, artsy space, with hearty dining and lively entertainment.

Creative Arts Programme Manager, Leon Johnson, said that the students’ work is a personal response to Brexit and what it meant to them at the time of the referendum.

“The aim was to show the personal thoughts and opinions of students who had no say in a process that is ultimately going to shape their future.

“Some of the work was the result of an ‘ideas and concepts’ unit project and some was from the printmaking unit, where the students had freedom of choice to pick a subject matter and politics had been widely discussed during classes following Brexit and Donald Trump’s inauguration.”

Some of the newer work for this exhibition chronicles various aspects of the journey so far. Including work by a Polish student whose illustration depicts Theresa May signing Article 50.


“In the image, is Mrs May signing the clause and behind her, is a hunting prize shield which proudly displays the head of a buffalo. The buffalo is representative of a Polish import product, Zubr, which is emblazoned below the head. It serves as a metaphor for trade deals with countries within the E.U.

“On the mantelpiece is a hunting rifle, in plain view, suggesting May has just claimed her “trophy” and has nothing to hide,” Mr Johnson added.

 The arts and culture industry is a significant player in the UK and the sector contributes £7.7 billion annually to the economy it has been estimated.