COVENTRY.- The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum
has acquired five powerful and thought-provoking pieces of work by artists Peter Kennard and Cat Picton-Phillips to add to their Peace and Reconciliation collection.
The works represent the harrowing nature of war and conflict through combining serious and humorous images. Peter Kennard's work has focused on responding to the social and political situation around him, producing a powerful response to conflict, armaments and injustice. His methods and approach have developed around his desire to express anger and revulsion but he is also motivated by the wish to inspire positive action and protest. The artworks acquired are Untitled Thatcher photomontage, Kent Portfolio, Award Portfolio, Photo Op and Target London
Natalie Heidaripour, Project Officer for the Peace and Reconciliation Collection, said "These works are an amazing addition to our Peace and Reconciliation collection. Whilst they focus on modern-day conflict, the themes that they explore resonate with Coventry and its history which is why we choose to collect these works."
The acquisitions are supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Collecting Cultures programme and a grant from the national fundraising charity for works of art, the Art Fund.
Anne Jenkins, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the West Midlands, said: “HLF’s Collecting Cultures scheme is a ground-breaking initiative. Designed to offer arts and heritage organisations the chance to seek out and purchase what they need to develop and build their collections strategically, this news from the Herbert is an excellent example of that.”
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “Peter Kennard isn’t afraid to tackle difficult and sensitive issues relating to conflict and war, and he does so in a challenging and thought-provoking way. It’s important these works go on public display to help provoke thought, debate and dialogue. The Herbert’s Peace and Reconciliation collection is an ideal home for them and we’re pleased to have helped make this purchase possible.”
In the 1970s Kennard began to work with photomontage as an appropriate medium to respond to the Vietnam War. Photomontage is the process and result of combining two or more images and pictures to create one. In the last 40 years photomontage has developed from film and darkrooms through to Photoshop and digital imagery. Central to Kennard's work is the manipulation of familiar symbols and imagery, forcing the viewer to 'see' the horror and human impact of national and international events, often combined with elements of humour but also deep sadness.
Peter Kennard has been working in collaboration with Cat Picton-Phillips since 2002 through kennardphillipps, producing art in response to the invasion of Iraq. Kennardphillips have recently exhibited at the National Photographic Archive, Dublin; Amnesty International, London; Tate Britain, London and the Imperial War Museum, London.
Untitled, Thatcher photomontage, 1985, by Peter Kennard
This work features Margaret Thatcher wearing a gas mask. The juxtaposition of the two images is representative of Kennard's practice during this period which aimed to distort symbols of power and conflict often in a humorous and shocking way.
Target London, 1985, by Peter Kennard
Produced for the Greater London Council, these posters focused on the government's plan to protect Londoners in the event of a nuclear war and included material from the Protect and Survive civil defence pamphlet. This set of striking images illustrates not only the palpable fear of nuclear war during this period but also the government's response to it.
Kent Portfolio, (Photomontages 1973-1991), by Peter Kennard
This comprehensive portfolio provides a survey of Kennard's most recognisable photomontage work.
Award Portfolio, 2003 by kennardphillipps
This portfolio showcases the striking series created by kennardphillips in response to the invasion of Iraq.
Photo Op, 2005 by kennardphillipps
This piece shows former Prime Minister Tony Blair taking a photo of himself in front of an explosion. This iconic image has become synonymous with the anti-war movement and shows the use of humour to present horror, seen throughout these works.