Between 2004 and 2005 Hew Locke made three large Queen's heads ' one gold ( El Dorado) one silver (Koh-i-noor) and one black (Black Queen). With these works Locke acknowledged the image of the Queen that appears on British postage stamps, the only stamps in the world that do not include their country of origin, relying entirely on the image of the British Queen as being universally and instantly recognisable.
In making these works Locke took the cheapest objects like screws and plastic toys and transformed them into something that appears valuable. The works are full of tension. The screws used to hold items in place are practical, but also allude to the nails used in African fetishes. The many plants, animals and insects that create the eco-system or landscape indicating the state of mind of the figure portrayed were inspired by Indian miniature paintings of Maharajahs hunting on their land.
Locke's recurrent themes and imagery include visual expressions of power, trophies, globalization and the movement of peoples. The plastic toys used in Black Queen come from China or other rapidly growing nations. It would have been much harder to make this work fifteen or twenty years ago when such items didn't exist in such cheap profusion but globalisation has made Locke's materials readily accessible in every market across the world.
Gallery opening times:
Wednesday to Saturday, 10am - 5pm
Sunday, 11am - 3pm
* During the school holidays we will be open 10am - 5pm, Monday to Saturday, 11am - 3pm on Sunday.