In the 2011 election Toothfish asked you to Vote Plankton. This time round it's just asking you to VOTE! The mysterious artist (if that's indeed what it is) is having an exhibition of fine art and posters with a political bent to coincide with the upcoming general election this September. The opening is at the Matchbox Gallery (downstairs at 166 Cuba Street) from 5.30 - 8.00pm on the evening of Monday, September 8th, and the show runs until the 14th of September.
ELECTION POSTER SHOW
66 CUBA STREET WELLINGTON
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 8TH
- SUNDAY 14TH 2014
"We live at a time where the short-sighted and cynical behavior of our political leaders means that art is one of the only places where any sort of idealism can still flourish. We all know a big storm is coming. The human race is stampeding towards the looming cliff of extinction and we're about to drag down a lot of other species with us. It's not a good time to be painting pictures of flowers or trying to market yourself like a soap brand. Art isn't just pretty pictures on your living room wall. It's a matter of life and death!" (Toothfish)
Vote Plankton Poster (2011 Election)
Toothfish officially came into being four years ago to draw attention to the plight of the Antarctic Toothfish and the insane fishing industry devoted to wiping the species out. Since then the project has morphed into a much larger conceptual street art/primitive art campaign on behalf of both the environment and social equality.
But what is Toothfish? Is it a person or a group or one masquerading as the other? It’s hard to say but if asked Toothfish prefers to think of itself as either a thing or as a powerful paranormal phenomenon.
Cartoon Strip by Toothfish (2014)
In 2012 Toothfish had back to back exhibitions in London and Wellington and featured in the book Street Art of the World by Garry Hunter.
Earlier this year it polarized public opinion with its poster depicting the Prime Minister as a smiling fascistic tyrant wedded not to the state but to the almighty dollar. This image in both poster and sticker formats has since been spotted all over New Zealand and a number of parodies have appeared including this one (below left) from Cameron Slater's blog, Whale oil, in which John Key has been replaced by a poorly rendered Kim Dotcom. (And "No! He didn't fund the poster!")
The previous New Zealand General Election in 2011 had the lowest voter turn-out since 1887 (before women were even allowed to vote). The latest poster is Toothfish's attempt to fertilise people to exercise their franchise. Featuring the face of an unknown Maori man from the nineteenth century and inspired by the WW1 recruitment poster featuring Lord Kitchener this poster simply asks you to - Vote.
Vote Poster by Toothfish (2014)