At the start of this year, Grayson Perry set out to make art about what he calls ‘the most divisive issue of my lifetime’: Brexit. He wanted to seek suggestions, dig into the data and visit the two sides’ heartlands. But in the middle of his investigations, Theresa May called a snap election. So in this one-off special, Grayson tries to get at what lies beneath both momentous choices, uncovering the emotions, beliefs and desires that drive our loyalty to one political tribe or another, and to capture what he’s found in a monumental new work.
Grayson spends time in Boston in Lincolnshire, the most Leave-voting place in Britain, and also in Hackney in London, where 78% voted to Remain, trying to understand both sides. In a radical departure from his usual artistic practice, Grayson also uses social media to crowdsource the content of the works he’ll make about it, asking the rest of us for ideas and contributions.
The result is a matching pair of his trademark richly-decorated vases: one to capture the hopes and dreams of Leavers, one for Remainers. They are, he says, ‘pots to stand on the mantle-shelf of Britain’. Grayson believes that art can help the nation have a different kind of conversation about our political beliefs. But can pottery reveal what politics obscures? And what really unites and divides us?
Producer and Director: Neil Crombie
Executive Producer: Joe Evans
Production Company: Swan Films
Grayson Perry: Divided Britain airs on Tuesday 30 May 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4.