Martin Ron’s “Badgergate” as it broke
The Badgergate news broke in our tube train office. “Do you know what Martin Ron is going to paint? A shotgun pointing at a badger.”
It came as a bit of a surprise, mostly because it appeared a bit too overt. Martin Ron is one of Argentina’s best known street artists whose Buenos Aires murals had previously featured disembodied heads, men trapped in floating boxes, giant snails and joyous tramps. On first impressions Ron could be compared to Salvador Dali crossed with Monty Python era Terry Gilliam. But he doesn’t just deal in surrealism. In fact Ron says his style is “hyper-real”.
“But surely a shotgun pointed at a badger?” the controversial cull was starting the following Monday, “is a bit too, um, real?”
Over the next few days the first drawing that appeared on the chequered green paint splattered wall was a pink gun eventually morphing into a pointed finger. The disembodied digits are based on his girlfriend Erica’s – but this giant version is mechanised.
Next it’s revealed the person operating the hand is based on a family friend Ron’s staying with in the UK.
What seems to be happening here is that Martin Ron is making the personal political. He tells the Inspiring City blog “I don’t pretend to paint about global political situations; little local daily situations are enough for me. I like to paint fantastic situations that co-exist with other situations around them on the street. I mix in the everyday occurrences with surrealism and situations of fantasy.”
On the seventh day, the badger appears, seemingly shielding his eyes from the pointing attention. The black and white creature is painted roughly to scale with the giant hand (gun) but the final twist is that Martin Ron calls the badger Goliath. And the giant mechanical finger of blame is David Cameron’s Government.
“What the mural represents is a complex machine without feeling, a mutant with a lot of power up against a tiny animal that in reality is adapting to the habitat around it,” Ron claims.
The picture is often more complex that it first appears, let the work speak for itself. And if you can you should witness it in person.