“Golden Ridicule”: St. Petersburg Street Artist Mocks Officials Who Send Their Children Abroad

Hioshi's "Golden Ridicule (Or, Please Take My Son)" in St. Petersburg. Republished with permission.

Hioshi's “Golden Ridicule (Or, Please Take My Son)” in St. Petersburg. Republished with permission.

Hioshi, the pseudonym for an anonymous Russian artist who is known for exhibiting small pieces of art on the streets of Saint Petersburg, debuted an installation earlier this week. “Golden Ridicule (Or, Please Take My Son)” portrays several Russian officials being put through a golden meat grinder; one of them is holding a newborn baby, asking a young graduate to take his son abroad with him so that, according to Hioshi, “he doesn't have to grow up in a world of his father's legislation.”

The installation, which stands about 10 inches (25 cm) high and is made of ceramic, iron and acryl, appeared a couple of days ago along the Bolshaya Neva River in Saint Petersburg.

A “golden meatgrinder with officials” installation appears in St. Petersburg.

“The more officials and deputies come up with legislative and regulatory initiatives, the more persistent they are in their desire for their children to move as far away as possible from Russia,” Hioshi told RuNet Echo.  The piece, he says, criticizes officials’ pretend patriotism and their artificial animus towards the West. The street artist says he chose a golden meat grinder because it perfectly describes Russian officials’ lives: “Imagine a swamp or quicksand that sucks you down – where there is no bottom, and every move you make, every stir, makes you sink deeper and deeper, together with those around you.”

Countless high-ranking Russian officials send their children abroad to be educated: Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, United Russia MP Sergey Zheleznyak, former Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin, and numerous others have children who are currently studying in the West.

The installation is Hioshi's reaction to a recent piece of draft legislation that would ban official's children from studying overseas. “My installations will hardly change the situation in Russia, or even affect those who are corrupted, very patriotic, or religious – they have locked themselves in a dark closet together with [state television host and propagandist Dmitry] Kiselyov and [MP and anti-LGBTQ campaigner Vitaly] Milonov, hissing towards the West from their cozy comfort zone,” Hioshi says. “But for those who sees through the lies and groundless hatred on state programs, for those who hope desperately for fair elections, I want to send a signal with my art: never say die. There is still life glimmering here; you are not alone.”

Hioshi's most significant installations include “Studio Rules of Composition” (2016), which is dedicated Russia's incommodious and unobtainable housing, and “TV Dinner” (2015) which features a dining family of four transfixed by state-owned TV station Channel One.

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