A few years ago, the British Museum created an exhibition based around the telling of the history of the world through 100 objects. This exhibition on dissent also uses 100 objects and is in many respects the perfect foil to its forerunner as it reveals the shadow world of human history – the story of the impotent (and sometimes potent) rage of the downtrodden; the story of those who don’t get to write the history books but still chalk up a victory right under the noses of their rulers by either subverting them overtly, or perhaps more interestingly, so subtly that the dissent sits in the mainstream, and yet passes unnoticed for years.
Hislop has selected his 100 favourite items to bring this to life, and the sweep of history he has delved into is nothing less than you would expect of a man with his eye for facts, irony and humour.
From Egyptian tomb builders creating ‘shagging’ hieroglyphics in their down time; to hidden Catholic imagery during the English reformation; or suffragettes engraving ‘Votes for Women’ onto coins; to billboards made of money in Zimbabwe to demonstrate the destructive power of inflation; to the bang up to date Pussyhat as worn in protests against Donald Trump, this is a brief and entertaining tour of dissent through the ages. It doesn’t take long to go round, and it has something that will appeal to everyone.
Well worth a look if you are near the British Museum and have a spare hour or two.
I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent is on at the British Museum until 20th January 2019. For more information, and to book tickets, visit www.britishmuseum.org.