Where’s Boris? The Art of Political Hide and Seek

Where’s Boris, 2019
Gouache on paper
21×29.7 cm

Ah, the colorful chaos of British politics in 2018! One moment you’re discussing the finer points of parliamentary procedure, the next, you’re wondering where on Earth your Foreign Secretary has vanished to. Inspired by one such episode of political peek-a-boo, I present to you my latest gouache painting, “Where’s Boris?”

For those who may have missed the drama, let’s rewind to June 2018. Picture this: The expansion of Heathrow Airport is up for a critical vote in the House of Commons, and it’s a highly contentious issue. Our Foreign Secretary at the time, Boris Johnson, had previously voiced strong opposition to the expansion, a stance that resonated with many of his constituents in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. However, when the time came for the decisive vote, Boris was nowhere to be found. Instead, he was on an unannounced diplomatic trip to Afghanistan.

This absence sparked a flurry of media coverage and public outcry, with many questioning the timing of his trip and the sincerity of his opposition to the Heathrow expansion. It wasn’t just about his physical absence from the vote, but a deeper inquiry into his commitment and accountability as a public servant during a pivotal moment.

The Inspiration Behind the Painting

My painting “Where’s Boris?” is a whimsical yet pointed commentary on this moment. Using bold hues of pink and yellow, I’ve created a backdrop that symbolizes the confusion and alarm of the time. The distinctive blonde hair is unmistakably Boris Johnson’s, yet his face is conspicuously absent. This absence is deliberate, echoing the public sentiment of a leader who seems to be missing in action when he is needed most.

The choice of gouache as a medium lends itself to the vibrant, almost surreal quality of the piece. Gouache, with its opaque and vivid properties, allows for strong contrasts and a playful yet striking representation of the subject matter. The bright colors and bold brush strokes mirror the dramatic and sometimes absurd nature of political events during this period.

A Witty Nod to Political Theatre

Creating this piece was not just an artistic endeavor, but also a form of social commentary. It captures a slice of political theatre that is as frustrating as it is fascinating. “Where’s Boris?” is my way of inviting viewers to reflect on the expectations we place on our leaders and the impact of their actions (or inactions) on the public psyche.

As I painted, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sheer absurdity of the situation. Here is a leader, caught in a game of hide and seek with the entire nation watching. The phrase “Where’s Boris?” has become a humorous yet pointed symbol of the times—a blend of exasperation and bemusement.

Art as a Reflection of Society

Art has always been a powerful tool for reflection and critique. With “Where’s Boris?” I aim to capture a moment that, while specific to the UK and its political landscape, resonates universally. It’s a reminder of how leaders’ actions (or lack thereof) can leave a lasting impression on the collective consciousness.

So, here it is—my artistic take on a tumultuous period in British politics. “Where’s Boris?” is not just a question from the present but a timeless inquiry into the nature of leadership and accountability. As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of political affairs, may we always seek to find our leaders, not just in times of clarity, but especially in moments of crisis.

I hope this painting sparks conversations, evokes memories, and perhaps even brings a smile to your face as we ponder the peculiar game of political hide and seek that has us all asking, “Where’s Boris?”

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