ART Of Protest Gallery’s Christmas Hang is up and glistening in Walmgate, introducing a new name to York’s exhibiting walls.
Born in Australia, Heath Kane has spent much of his life in England; first in London and now in the market town of Saffron Walden, Essex, where he has his studio.
“In the first part of Heath’s career, he was a designer and art director for London advertising agencies, and a strong sense of graphic structure still sits at the heart of his art,” says gallery curator Craig Humble. “He specialises in simple, iconic and memorable pieces that have the ability to tell stories and are linked to a larger narrative.”
One of Heath’s breakthrough collections was Rich Enough To Be Batman, the superimposing of Batman’s mask on The Queen’s face, in his response to what he calls “the increasing disparity in wealth that I was seeing”.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the world around me: particularly where life, art and storytelling collide,” says Heath. “After decades of working in advertising and design, it dawned on me that there was more to life than selling people sh*t they don’t need.
“Having worked with clients in the luxury goods market for quite a while, I found it hard to understand how some individuals had more wealth than entire countries. And so I created Rich Enough To Be Batman. I knew then that I wanted any art I made to be topical, political and to challenge the conventions of our lifestyles and the world we live in today.”
Heath has always made art in response to what he sees happening in the world. “Each of my collections explores a different political or social narrative,” he explains. “I want people to look at my art and talk about the issues we face, both individually and as a community.
“When politics seems to be moving backwards (and while right-wing governments continue to be in power), we need to be more active than ever in moving forwards. In creating art, I now have a voice that can help to bring about change. And through buying my art, perhaps you can join in that choir.”
Heath vows to continue to create more art that brings awareness to the societal rifts that politics creates. “I hope to ridicule these divisions while trying to create more tolerance and understanding for each other,” he says. “Let’s work together in making the world better. Not just for ourselves, but for everyone.”
Gallery opening hours are: Monday to Friday, 11am to 6pm; Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.