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All images © Hew Locke & ArtImage unless otherwise indicated

link to animation Sovereign State

Sovereign State
2016   Size variable
Digital animation with sound
See also House of Windsor - reliefs, House of Windsor - drawings and paintings, and House of Windsor - cardboard

Limited Edition commissioned by Sedition Art.

Sovereign State is Locke's first moving image work, in which an image of Queen Elizabeth II morphs, fades and loops, against a subtle sound track.

Growing up in Guyana, Hew Locke remembers images of Elizabeth II on his school exercise book covers remaining long after the country’s Independence.

Locke’s work challenges the dearth of more complex images of the royal family. The Queen, in her role as Head of State, meets the British Prime Minister every week at Buckingham Palace to be updated on Government matters; no-one else is present and no official record is made of what is said, or the personal views she may express. Elizabeth II is somebody who holds 60 years worth of political secrets in her head. In this video work Locke has shown her mouth bound; to hold everything in. Sounds of whispers hover in the air as the image of the Queen transforms slowly. Edvard Munch’s The Scream is a significant influence, as are Tudor portraits of Elizabeth I by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. These include The Rainbow Portrait in which she wears a dress covered in eyes and ears as the all-seeing ruler, and The Ditchley Portrait, where she stands upright on a map of England; storms raging behind her while the sun shines before her.

Locke’s take on the monarchy references medieval and renaissance imagery of the ruling elite, who were often portrayed with skulls or skeletons as a reminder that “in the midst of life we are in death” and that change is inevitable.

Click here to view Sovereign State and other digital editions by Hew Locke

Link to video of Sovereign State