Thursday, 24 June 2010
Support Steve McQueen’s 'Queen and Country' stamp campaign!
Commissioned by the Imperial War Museum, Turner prize-winning British artist Steve McQueen was Iraq’s official war artist. Whilst embedded with the army in Iraq McQueen initially wanted to make a documentary of his time there but this plan was thwarted by the powers that be. McQueen subsequently created 'Queen and Country', an homage to those servicemen and women who lost their lives in the conflict. The work consists of sheets of stamps depicting head shots of each person and serves as not only as a poignant reminder of the lives lost in such a (unjust) war but also commemorates their bravery and sacrifice. It raises questions of choice, war, imperialisation, remembrance and also about representations of contemporary conflict.
McQueen has battled tirelessly for these stamps to be made official but the Royal Mail has stubbornly resisted (no doubt influenced by the last government who were presumably trying to shove the Iraq skeleton into its vast collection before scampering into the night after the election) but Iraq is certainly still fresh in many minds and should not be forgotten. We have now been in a state of war for nearly 10 years, an astonishing state of events. The public for one reason or another are unusually sheltered from the reality of war (despite the fact that the internet makes it more accessible than any other, just think of Thomas Hirschhorn’s ‘The Incommensurable Banner’ 2007 which uses gruesome pictures from the internet) as not only is it occurring over 6,000 miles away but life continues as usual. Too often, military deaths are relegated to the back pages.
Show your support and sign the petition to Royal Mail to create the commemorative stamps: www.artfund.org/queenandcountry