Back in 2018, a group of ‘art activists’ headed to City Hall with a request. With a visit from then-US President Donald Trump imminent, they wanted permission to fly a giant balloon – designed to look like a naked Donald Trump in a nappy – in the sky above Westminster. A crowdfunder was launched to raise money for the vast amounts of helium needed to keep the six-metre artwork in the air.
At first, Sadiq Khan’s team said no. Then – after a petition to ‘Let Trump Baby Fly’ gained more than 10,000 signatures – the Trump Baby-makers got their way, and the orange inflatable flew proud over anti-Trump marches in the city. And that was just the start. Over the years that followed, the overinflated gasbag sailed over France, Argentina, Ireland, Denmark and various locations in the US. Now, it’s finally taking its place in history.
With Joe Biden’s inauguration due in mere days, the blimp is landing in its final home: the Museum of London. The artwork will sit in the protest collection, alongside objects relating to the Suffrage movement and and tents that belonged to Brian Haw who used to actively protest outside the Houses of Parliament.
Sharon Ament, Museum of London Director, says the museum decided to acquire it to mark ‘the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance – a feeling still relevant today as we live through these exceptionally challenging times – that ultimately shows Londoners banding together in the face of extreme adversity’. For her it was a demonstration of an open, challenging, ever-evolving spirit that’s been in London throughout history.
The Trump Baby team say: ‘We hope the baby’s place in the museum will stand as a reminder of when London stood against Trump – but will prompt those who see it to examine how they can continue the fight against the politics of hate. Most of all we hope the Trump Baby serves as a reminder of the politics of resistance that took place during Trump’s time in office. This large inflatable was just a tiny part of a global movement – a movement that was led by the marginalised people who Trump’s politics most endangered – and whose role in this moment should never be underestimated.’