A towering blimp depicting the twice-impeached, outgoing US president Donald Trump has been acquired by the Museum of London. The six-metre-high inflatable effigy, which caricatures Trump as a diapered baby clutching a mobile phone, was flown over Parliament Square in London during a 2018 protest of his presidential visit to the UK.
Designed by Matt Bonner, made by Imagine Inflatables of Leicester and crowdfunded to cover the £16,000 cost by the climate activist Leo Murray (among others), the blimp went on a global tour across Paris, Los Angeles and Buenos Aires. The balloon—dubbed Trump Baby—will now join the London museum's permanent collection of artefacts from historically significant protests, including flags waved during Women's suffrage and recent placards held by protestors against public spending cuts.
In a statement, the Museum of London's director, Sharon Ament, said the museum was "not political and does not have any view about the state of politics in the States", but noted that the balloon had touched on the typical British response of satire. "We use humour a lot. And we poke fun at politicians. This is a big—literally—example of that," she said.
"By collecting the baby blimp we can mark the wave of feeling that washed over the city that day and capture a particular moment of resistance [...] that ultimately shows Londoners banding together in the face of extreme adversity,” Ament added.
The museum has also expressed an interest in acquiring a rival blimp made of the London mayor Sadiq Khan, created after his disapproval of Trump's visit led to criticism that the politician was undermining freedom of speech.
The inflatable effigy's creators said in a statement: "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 whose Trump’s politics most endangered—and whose role in this moment should never be underestimated.”
“While we’re pleased that the Trump Baby can now be consigned to history along with the man himself, we’re under no illusions that this is the end of the story," they add.
The work, which the museum says was donated, is now in "quarantine"—a standard procedure for recent acquisitions to ensure they are free of insects and other harmful organisms. The museum's curatorial team is currently deliberating how best to display the imposing work.