Posted by The Herbert Team
In March we received the latest artworks acquired for the Peace and Reconciliation collection which is funded through the HLF Collecting Cultures programme. This included a collection of works by Peter Kennard and collaborative works by Peter and Cat Picton-Phillipps.
Peter’s work is a powerful response to social and political events around him. It is often based around his wish to express anger and outrage but also inspire positive action and protest. In the 1970s Peter moved away from painting to photomontage which he felt to be a more powerful response to the Vietnam War. His recent works with Cat Picton-Phillips were created in response to the Iraq War and include digital collage.
Peter manipulates familiar symbols and images to force the viewer to ‘see’ the horror and impact of national and international events. This is often combined with humour and sadness. His images have been used on banners and T-shirts and in newspapers and magazines, as part of CND and Labour Party campaigns as well as shown in gallery spaces. He has been exhibiting since the 1970s and his work is held in The Arts Council Collection, Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
We are exploring working with Peter and Cat as part of an exhibition of the Peace and Reconciliation collection in 2012. This might include a solo display of their work within the exhibition and recreating their studio at the Herbert to explore their methods and practice.
Other new acquisitions have included poster works by Michael Peel, also created as a form of protest for display on the streets, and works from the Roaring Girls series by Al Johnson. These sculptures of guns are based on real weapons, but stitched from scarlet textiles and explore the involvement of women in warfare.
We have also been able to acquire three photographic works from the Iraq is Flying series by Jamal Penjweny, which featured in the Contemporary Art Iraq exhibition at Cornerhouse, Manchester in 2010. The works were made during the artists travels throughout Iraq. Photographing a diverse range of people in very different locations, he asked them all to jump for the camera. There are obvious signs of conflict in the images but they also convey a feeling of joy and hope.