Meet the woman making Brexit politician portraits with porn

PUBLISHED: 19:38 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 19:38 29 January 2020

Jeyda Heselton's portrait of David Cameron from her Brexhibition

Jeyda Heselton's portrait of David Cameron from her Brexhibition

Jeyda Heselton

A London woman is putting on an exhibition of pictures of Brexit-related politicians - all made entirely from adult magazines

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Artist Jeyda Heselton, who is displaying her Brexit portraits in Hackney, East LondonArtist Jeyda Heselton, who is displaying her Brexit portraits in Hackney, East London

27-year-old Jeyda Heselton hit upon the idea of the coarse collages after making something similar for a colleague's leaving present.

But after getting plenty of reaction to an indecorous image of Boris Johnson and his right-hand man Dominic Cummings she decided to aim her sights higher with an entire exhibition going on display in East London - where else? - this weekend.

"I did a piece a couple of years ago where I did the same thing as a leaving present for a colleague," she tells The New European, which advises you to consult your HR department before doing something similar at work.

"It did get people who saw it talking, so I thought maybe there's a way of tying in something that's more serious with something that's a bit light-hearted.

"I thought... I can make it bigger than just me making an art piece, I can actually put on an event that, you know, pulls together more of these and gets far more people talking about it."

Attendees at the one-day event in Shoreditch on Sunday will be greeted with 10 of Jeyda's large Pythonesque portraits, including David Cameron, Theresa May and Michael Gove, be served cocktails with bawdy names and be encouraged to put their own Brexit-themed art, poetry or spoken word on display.

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In the evening a panel debate will take place including the cartoonist Martin Rowson and illustrator and campaigner Javie Huxley.

Jeyda said: "Essentially it's going to be focused around, ok, well, it's happening now, I don't want to go into whether it was right or wrong, I want us to be focusing on what positives we can now take, what steps forward we can take as a society, and I guess whether art has a role to play in that, which I obviously believe it does.

"I wasn't involved in any campaigning myself, I was pretty much just a voter. A lot of my friends and family and people that I've come across are in a similar position to me - I sort of felt angry about it, but aside from voting I haven't actually done that much.

"And so I thought, we can't just sit and moan, we need to start thinking what we do now, and we need to start talking about things properly rather than just feeling angry, moaning a bit and not getting into the details of what we could actually do."

It remains to be seen who will venture in on the Sabbath, although Jeyda, who is originally from Darlington, "would love it to be lots of people in the local community".

But aside from the impact it makes, one question stands out. The internet unquestionably had an enormous impact on the Brexit referendum. Surely it's also made buying the raw print materials needed to make these artworks impossible? They were "very difficult to come by," says Jeyda.

"I walked around essentially every newsagent that I could in Kentish Town and Shoreditch, no luck in pretty much all of them. Eventually I found one that did still stock it and I celebrated quite loudly in front of the newsagent 'yes! You've got porn!'. Which I think sort of surprised him.

"I said 'it's for an art piece' and he said 'that's what they all say'. But they're expensive, let me tell you. Not cheap."

Brexhibition runs from 5-8pm at Hoxton 253 Project Space in Shoreditch, East London this Sunday (February 2). Entry is £10 with any profits going to the Hackney Migrants Centre

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