Heads of State

Hew Locke’s Heads of State collection features three images and one video work composed of portraits of Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth. Black Queen, El Dorado, and Koh-i-Noor are three images of Locke’s relief sculptures created using various materials including plastic weapons, jewels, animals and foliage. Locke is fascinated by how different cultures invent themselves and select their symbols of nationhood. Britain is represented on stamps, coins and portraits by an image of Queen Elizabeth II. Locke began creating intricate drawings and sculptures of the Queen that detail her face and crown in a unique style that comments on the symbol of the monarch as a representation of the sovereign state, and reflects on the fragility of this power. Her image is a blank framework onto which Locke can project thoughts and investigate ideas. Sovereign State is the artist’s first video work created exclusively for Sedition, which brings together a series of portraits of the Queen that slowly morph one into the other. Subtle sounds of whispers hover in the background suggesting the abundance of political secrets she has been privy to over the 60 years of her reign. The effects of war, foreign policy, colonialism and recent terrorist attacks are symbolised in the anxious expressions of the Queen and motifs illustrated around her, creating a complex notion of the psychological state of the nation today.

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