Lolie Darko’s sad faced children have been appearing around London for a while now. Often accompanied with captions, the works stop people in their tracks as they try and make sense of the art on display in such a public forum.
Her work at times can make for uncomfortable viewing, it is not the happy go lucky type of street art which can often be seen. These works have a story to them and when peeled back they say a lot about how the artist views the world.
From northern France just outside of Calais but now living in Paris, Lolie tries to pop over to London every couple of months. It’s a happy stomping ground for her here, the audience is appreciative and there are many legal walls. It allows her the freedom to do her thing and now London is the place where she will hold her first solo show in Dalston’s BSMT Space.
In the show, much like with her work on the street, she depicts children who are staring intently at us. The show is called ‘La Fete Triste’ which translates to the ‘Sad Party’ and there is a sadness in their eyes as they try to make sense of a world around them that really doesn’t seem to make sense. Many of the children are depicted as clowns as if they have come to a party, the imagery is a nod to the renowned French artist Bernard Buffet whose clown portraits are a huge influence on her work.
Speaking to Inspiring City just before the show it’s apparent that there are layers to Lolie’s work. Her artist name ‘Lolie Darko’ is taken from the movie Donnie Darko, a film which depicts two different worlds or dimensions. It’s the kind of place that she see’s her sad eyed children inhabiting and in her art they are placed in adult worlds in which they cannot understand or cannot relate.
Another theme running through her work is that of animal welfare and when we start to speak about this her body language changes and she becomes more animated, it’s clear that this is an area she feels deeply about. For her animal welfare is around accepting that animals are capable of thinking and feeling and that this mindset once accepted can change the way you look at how we treat animals in wider society.
It distresses her to know that some people will not accept that animals are anything other than resources for consumers and that they are unable to feel. It’s a theme she relates back to her big eyed sad faced children who have been plunged into this alternate world of adults where life is taken so easily and welfare is not even given a second thought.
I mention one piece in the show which depicts a child carrying a cartoon deer, recognisable from the Disney movie Bambi, it’s belly is bleeding and it is being held in the childs arms. The piece is entitled ‘Ignorance is Bliss’ and I ask whether the child is sad because bambi is dead. “I could never draw a dead mammal” she tells me “I just couldn’t do it”. This piece I learn is more about hope, Bambi might be injured, but the child believes there is still hope for it. It’s called ignorance is bliss because here the child still believes that someone will care enough to save it. That child, still living in ignorance and not yet inhabiting that alternate world of adults, is still living in hope that someone will be there to help.
‘La Fete Triste the first solo show from Lolie Darko is showing at the BSMT Space in Dalston from 31 March 2017 to 13 April 2017. The private view is on the 30 March 2017. She was interviewed in Dalston on 29 March 2017. The BSMT Space can be found at 5 Stoke Newington Road, N16 8BH.
La Fete Triste Gallery