I Object: Ian Hislop's Search for Dissent

6 September 2018–20 January 2019

Exhibition Overview

Day-of-the-Dead.jpg

Factory owner from Day of the Dead festival (detail; 1980s)

A wide variety of objects are on display in the exhibition – from graffiti on a Babylonian brick to a banknote with hidden rude words, from satirical Turkish shadow puppets to a recently acquired ‘pussy’ hat worn on a women’s march. See what tales these objects tell – sometimes deadly serious, often humorous, always with conviction. Unlock the messages and symbols these people used, and get closer to understanding them. The British Museum doesn’t escape ridicule either – the joke has been on us on more than one occasion.

This history in 100(ish) objects shows that people have always challenged and undermined orthodox views in order to enable change. They even did so despite the establishment usually taking a pretty dim view – for most of history you could expect a gruesome punishment, up to and including death, for this kind of subversive behaviour. This suggests that maybe we are programmed to dissent – it’s just part of who we are. Ultimately, the exhibition will show that questioning authority, registering protest and generally objecting are an integral part of what makes us human.

(Image courtesy of the British Museum)

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