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The Tate museums in London, a total of four more important historical and art centers of British pride were built on the Tate family’s fortune from sugar plantations and slavery which encompassed the Caribbean, including Guyana, the heritage home of Hew Locke, the recipient-artist of the 2022 Tate Britain Commission. His work, “The Procession” is the major exhibition at the Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain, from 22 March to 22 January 2023 and is as visually thrilling and historically compelling as any you have ever seen that deals with the Black history and the sugar slavery of the Caribbean.
British sculptor and contemporary visual artist Hew Locke has created a new and exciting large-scale installation for the 2022 Commission, he is Edinburgh-born, raised in Guyana, and living between London and Cornwall.
Many of the 150 effigies, Locke uses in his installation tell a powerful story, some on foot, some on horseback, some carried, one in a wheelchair. Men and women and children, little drummers, people in Dogon masks and mantillas, others wearing ferocious animal heads or looking like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. There are demons and skulls, conical penitential caps, fantastical millinery, faces covered in stars and others decorated with flowers, a child with an old man’s face, others who look like they have been ravaged by disease and injured by sugar slavery.
The Procession is visually joyful as it is filled with sorrows. By far the most accomplished, ambitious and fascinating work by the 62-year-old artist.
Locke made his Procession travel through space and time. They carry historical and cultural baggage, of global financial and violent colonial control embellished on their clothes and banners, alongside powerful images of some of the disappearing colonial architecture of Locke’s childhood in Guyana.
The installation takes inspiration from real events and histories and here you are invited to view what Locke wants you to feel and contemplate…
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