January 15, 2020

Satirical Anti-consumerism Art of Angel Boligan

“Satire is fascinating stuff. It’s deadly serious, and when politics begin to break down, there is a drift towards satire, because it’s the only thing that makes any sense.”

- Ben Nicholsan

During the French Revolution, satire was used in cartoons to convey messages to the people. The French satirists drew from the disquiet created by the huge disparity between the upper crust and those getting by on crusts.

Satire exposes the follies, weaknesses, and abuses of society, and holds them up to ridicule, hoping to change them, for satire seeks not just to expose, but to also transform.

Satire is constructive criticism that often creates humour as it promotes awareness and educates. While it can be funny, it also can give us ah-ha! moments when we can see an issue more clearly. 

The earliest example of satire in literature is from Egypt in the 2nd millennium BC. 

Comedians Bill Hicks and George Carlin are more recent examples of artists who were rather deft at cracking the whip of satirical wit. Their humour tickles both the funny bone and the brain. Often it stings a bit as well.

Back to the revolution, the use of satire in France fuelled the anger and disdain for the rich who, as a result, were no longer viewed as betters, but as the oppressors that they were. 

The times today are as rich as ever for satire to shine its light into the dark corridors where oppressors operate. It can also shine that light back at ourselves when we recognize we are the targets, and that change begins at home.

The best satire creates art that serves up a compelling call to learn in a way that is as bitter, or humorous, as it is effective. 

If this art form can expose the rich for the fakers that they are, and bring down Kings, lets see what it can do for exposing consumerism for the royal fake that it is.

All art in this post is by Cuban artist Angel Boligan. His work confronts consumerism, corruption and hypocrisy. Many pieces also reflect the fallout, including loneliness, vanity and despair.


  1. Loneliness, vanity and despair, you have been looking at the internet social sites, haven't you? It is so sad. Got do something for someone, serve someone or something.

    1. It is good to have a special purpose in life. Service to others Is a great place to start.

  2. Songs are another art form that can be satirical. The song "Big Yellow Taxi" by another one of Canada's great musicians, Joni Mitchell came to mind immediately as I read your article. Significant song, it's been recorded by 465 other artists. Joni's website has some interesting comments about the song. Here are some of the verses:

    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot
    With a pink hotel *, a boutique
    And a swinging hot spot

    They took all the trees
    Put 'em in a tree museum *
    And they charged the people
    A dollar and a half just to see 'em

    Don't it always seem to go
    That you don't know what you've got
    Till it's gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot

    ~Joni Mitchell, 1970

    1. Excellent. That fits with the Webster definition of satire: “ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues.”

      We love Joni, and we love this song. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. Anonymous1/18/2020

    I have just been thinking the same, here in Australia i have never seen such an outpouring of satire.
    We have been having an appalling time with the bushfires & a climate denying government, but it seems to me we're finally in a place where the anger & disdain for leaders who are contributing to this might lead to a real change. The satirical cartoons/tv/social media over our Prime Ministers trip to Hawaii during the fires has been a small bright spot in a very difficult time...

    1. Satire cuts through the fog... or smoke. Sure was nice to hear that you got rain. And golf ball sized hail? Wow, can't get a break theses days. Good luck to you and your country as we all work through this dire situation.

  4. George Carlin was one of the first to make me think about my "stuff".

    1. Hey! Thank you so much for pointing this out. George Carlin was an early influence of mine as well. His message really stuck with me.


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