Art: Artist illustrates Muslim ban protest

Esme Barrell, February 1, 2017


Hundreds of photographs were taken at the Muslim ban protest on Monday evening, but Bristol artist Niki Groom thought illustration was the best way to capture the mood of the demonstration.

Standing at the heart of the crowds and sketching the scene, Niki said that she managed to catch things a camera couldn’t. “As well as adding some of the banners I saw I also included some of the chants that I heard. And in the pouring rain, it was hard to get a photo that showed just how many people turned up.”

Her rain splattered drawing places us under the cold wet skies of the protest. 

In her monochrome illustration drawn in fineliner you can see the flood of banners there to demonstrate not just resistance to US president Donald Trump’s recent policies, but also the mass calls for love and solidarity at this time of great global change. 

Recently moved to Bristol, Niki works mainly in vibrant watercolour, pastel inks and fine liner and illustrates fashion, beauty and lifestyle images.

Some of her previous work, for which she was awarded the Digital Influencer Award from InStyle, features life illustrations from various cafes and restaurants whilst sitting there and personalised prints for customers shopping at brands like Liberty and Hobbs.

But sketching while amid mass events is a recent experiment for her.

Similar to her Muslim ban illustration, Niki’s Tea at the Mosque depicts Bristol’s response to a racist attack on the building and those who came together in Totterdown as an act of solidarity against what had happened.

A different tone to her anti-Trump sketch but still capturing a community response to a political event – the kindness on the streets and the open doors of Bristol homes offered to refugees. 

Niki believes that art can provide a unique platform to capture political messages as well as distributing them to a wide reach of audiences.

Last year she volunteered at Calais Jungle Camp and like at this week’s protest found that photography wasn’t the best way to record what she was seeing.

The charity that Niki worked with asked her to help raise awareness of their project on social media but many of the refugees didn’t want to have their picture taken.

She also explained that “people will avoid looking at photographs that they find difficult” and are easier to avoid so her love for illustrating was adapted as a political tool. 

For more information about Niki’s artistic projects, visit www.missmagpiefashionspy.com

 

Read more: Huge turnout for Bristol anti-Trump protest

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