Obey the Lion
Public intervetion, text on stickers, Instagram posts and stories, publication (2018)
Conceived of an as ‘action’ for the project 52 Artists 52 Actions, these stickers were an intervention into the semiotic landscape of Colombo. They deal in paradoxes, ironies and function through a form of real life detournement of the urban landscape.
They reflect on various hegemonic ideologies active in Sri Lankan society. The 'Obey the Lion' sticker is a mash up of Shephard Fairey's Obey with the iconic image of a lion from Sri Lanka's most popular brand of beer. The lion is also a symbol of nationalism in Sri Lanka, and often used to the detriment of minorities. The 'Sleep' sticker speaks to sleep as the last refuge from late capitalism as well as, paradoxically, an inherent characteristic of the Dubordian spectacle, the opposite of being ‘woke’. 'Progress' critiques notions of development in Sri Lanka, a society playing catch up to materialism in it's post-war frenzy to develop. 'Melancholony' parodies Sri Lanka's modern colonization, as well as its use of colonial motifs, aesthetics and ways of being to construct itself for and through the eyes of the white westerner.
Whilst developed in response to the particular context of Sri Lanka, these stickers have traveled the world and found relevance on the streets of cities in Europe, the United States and South Asia through personal travels, networks and exchanges.
52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS: Small Acts of Disobedience - Ocula
Image: 52 Artists 52 Actions: Small Acts of Disobedience. Thames and Hudson, 2019.