When is a Smiley Face not just a smiley face?

Flying cheerfully & enthusiastically atop Somerset House when we visited a couple of months ago was this unexpected sight.  This Smiley flag was raised to commemorate Utopia 2016:  a year of Imagination & Possibility, celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia.

It was Older Daughter who spotted it as we walked through the enormous courtyard in front of Somerset House.  It took me a while to figure out what she was pointing at and then to process what I saw.

Jeremy Deller, a British artist, collaborated with Fraser Muggeridge, a British graphic designer, to design this whimsical flag in celebration of Thomas More’s 1516 text.  The Smiley Face stands for a myriad of movements and ideas, from a smart-phone emoji to a symbol of rave culture. It’s a symbol that many different generations have used in different ways…  Deller and Muggeridge … felt it was a symbol of positive thinking and this is their version of what a flag that’s celebrating Utopia might look like.”

Go figure, a Smiley face is no longer just a smiley face!

Somerset House

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