Quentin Blake, Angela de la Cruz, Tracey Emin, Ryan Gander, Rankin, Gerald Scarfe, Bob & Roberta Smith and Gavin Turk are amongst the high-profile artists contributing self portraits to the Face Britain project. As well as these artists, a wide range of well known faces from the worlds of film, TV, theatre, sport, music, fashion and literature are also donating self-portraits which will go under the hammer in aid of this important and timely cause.
Face Britain is the UKs largest ever mass collaborative art project developed by The Princes Foundation for Children & the Arts
, who aim to increase access to the arts for all children. Thousands of self portraits have already been uploaded to an online gallery by children across the UK, who have been learning about the art of self portraiture at school, at home and through gallery visits.
Face Britain is open to all children and young people aged 4-16 years throughout the UK and gives them the opportunity to create self portraits in any medium which will be publicly displayed across the country and projected on to the frontage of Buckingham Palace as part of The Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in spring 2012.
As the nations children have been getting involved, many UK public figures have also been investigating their own identities and creating a likeness of themselves. Face Britain patrons range from professional practising artists to celebrities and sporting stars with little or no artistic training, though many have revealed a hidden talent for drawing or painting. Some of patrons are art school graduates who have followed alternative career paths, such as Brian Eno, Brian Ferry and Alan Rickman. Others have a natural talent and passion for portraiture, such as Fearne Cotton, David James and Derren Brown. However, all subscribe to the message of Face Britain, that art should be an open door, beneficial to everyone. It is not a competition so anyone can take part, regardless of ability or circumstance.
In the process of bringing art to as many children as possible, Face Britain will also attempt to establish a new Guinness World RecordTM for the most artists working on the same art installation.
Portraits will also be displayed on all the BBC Big Screens which become official London 2012 Live Sites next year. In addition, prominent JCDecaux digital screens across the UK will provide a unique snapshot of how the nations young people see themselves.
Speaking on film at the Face Britain launch event, HRH The Prince of Wales said:
As Founder and President of The Princes Foundation for Children and the Arts, I firmly believe that everyone should have the opportunity, at an early age, to be given access to and to be inspired by the arts. Sustained access to performance and visual arts can empower children to explore their creativity and to enhance their personal development and self-esteem.
With this in mind, I am delighted that my Foundation for Children and the Arts is to invite all children and young people in the United Kingdom to engage actively in the art of selfportraiture and to participate in Face Britain.
Everyone aged four to sixteen years of age is invited to create a self-portrait in their own personal choice of style. The only stipulation for all participants is that it has to be you you are Face Britain.
Portraits at all levels of skill and in any medium are acceptable including drawing, textiles, 3D, painting, graphics and photography. By providing a platform for young people to consider their own identity and place within history, Face Britain aims to celebrate the nation's children and future in the lead up to HM The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
Face Britain lets people express themselves in whatever way they want. You don't have to be a great artist, it is about taking part in something fun. Niamh, 11, Northern Ireland, Face Britain Youth Council.