Select Page

Colin Lee

Project title:North London Language Directive
Location:Central London
Date:October 2023 – Ongoing

About the Artist:

Colin Lee’s work delves into the language and colloquialisms from urban areas of London and investigates ways in which language can translate into a mirror of class division.  The language he has chosen to focus on derives from his years spent interacting with the local people of North London and his work emphasises how language can shift and migrate through different parts of our social hierarchy and geographical locations as well as within different age groups.  

Lee believes language should, and could, bring us closer together.  Modern youth language is a fascinating melting pot of influences and subcultures.   Music, gay/drag culture, East End rhyming slang, gang culture and Americanisms all intermingle, and bring a global and inclusive flair to modern English, yet Lee senses this global influence is paradoxically what keeps us further apart. 

About the Project:

The project is durational and ongoing, encompassing process through to the finished work, yet to be finalised. Lee has designed a broad selection of humorous, educational posters, bringing North London colloquialisms onto the walls and streets of gentrified and “smart” locations, using the cloak of night to distribute them to his chosen areas quickly and efficiently.   This method of “poster bombing” the local people with working class and youth language is symbolic of his tongue-in-cheek way of bringing the classes together. 

He is also formulating books and pamphlets using a continuing list of phrases and words which he gathers through his practice-based research.  Once completed the books will be surreptitiously placed inside libraries and citizens advice bureaux within the London area.  This method of delivery of the books and the poster bombing across the city are reminiscent of Lee’s graffiti influenced past, placing the work with subterfuge, a “Guerrilla style” art which very much brings the work to the people. 

Lee’s practice also draws on the satirical British sense of humour by using a fictional educational movement to unite his project; “North London Language Directive.”  This is reminiscent of both, Citizen Smith created and written by John Sullivan, about the “Tooting Popular Front” and Monty Python’s Life of Brian “Judean Peoples Front.”  Python also used fake public service departments and historical movements for humour, “Spanish Inquisition” and the “Department of Funny Walks.” These commentaries of public dissatisfaction with government bodies are something Lee also strives to achieve with this project. 




North London Language Directive Instagram page;

Colin Lee Art Instagram page;


Posted on

January 4, 2024