News

Colby College Museum of Art acquires work by Hew Locke

January 29, 2021

Hales and P.P.O.W are delighted to announce that Colby College Museum of Art have acquired Souvenir 1 (Queen Victoria) (2018) by Guyanese-British artist Hew Locke.

Souvenir 1 (Queen Victoria) was exhibited in Locke’s solo exhibition Here’s the Thing at Colby College Museum of Art in 2020, which had previously been shown at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK and Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, USA in 2019.

The work is from Locke’s series, Souvenirs which grew from his collection and research into Parian busts of Queen Victoria and other royals. Popularised at the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, held in London in 1851 as a celebration of modern technology and design, ceramic Parian Ware was an innovative imitation marble produced on a mass scale, allowing middle-class Victorians to proudly display statuary in their homesHere, Locke has taken the now rare royal souvenirs and adorned the heads with jewels, crowns, royal crests, skulls, military medals and metal masks. Souvenirs draws attention to the stories behind the figures, not destroying them but instead illuminating a past that is often glossed over.

‘They are weighed down by the literal burden of history and this goes back to my idea of how a nation creates itself, what stories it sells to itself and how this relates to ideas of Britain and its history that are weighing down the minds of people today.’ (Locke, 2019).

According to Diana Tuite, who curated Here's the Thing at Colby, "Locke's work is more resonant than ever, and Souvenir 1 (Queen Victoria) catalyzes deep inquiry into colonial legacies and nationalist iconographies."