London-based artist Aida Wilde has created a powerful series of works on banknotes for charity Help Refugees that will be launched next week at the Cash is King II show at the Saatchi Gallery in London. The show opens on the 21st of August and runs until the 8th of September.
Aida Wilde was born in Iran and arrived in the UK in the mid 1980s as a political refugee. In this striking body of work, she uses banknotes from Eritrea, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria as her canvas, and works in ‘money ink’ she painstakingly created from pulped banknotes. Sourced by curators Susan Hansen and Olly Walker, these banknotes represent some of the countries that have seen the highest numbers of people become refugees in recent years.
In an immediate and intuitive response to these banknotes, Wilde has used the iconic ‘Choose Love’ slogan, gifted to charity Help Refugees by the iconic activist-designer Katharine Hamnett. All proceeds from the sale of Aida’s work will go to supporting Help Refugees’ work around the world.
Curators Susan Hansen and Olly Walker said, “When we first gave Aida the banknotes from Help Refugees to work with, she could not even look at the Iraqi Dinars. She slid them out of sight under the other banknotes. Aida said she felt that Choose Love’s message of hope, love, dignity and humanity could not fit with the image of Saddam Hussain – whose image is branded on the notes. Aida’s family were directly impacted by Hussain’s tyrannical government, and fled Iran in the 1980s, when she was a child.”
“We assured Aida that of course it was not necessary to work with the Iraqi banknotes if this would prove traumatic, but a week later, she sent through some process shots of the notes she had been busy transforming, which to our surprise included the Iraqi Dinars.”
Aida Wilde said, “The whole process of working with these notes was so instinctive. At first, I couldn’t even touch them. But then, I started working. It felt very personal.”
Cash is King II: Money Talks features works of art executed on banknotes. This remarkable exhibition showcases a unique collection of defaced money art that has been sent in from all over the world for inclusion in the second Cash is King book. The book and exhibition were conceived by mixed-media artists Bob Osborne and Carrie Reichardt. The Cash is King II exhibition has been curated by Olly Walker of Ollystudio.