Colby College Museum of Art acquires work by Hew Locke

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Colby College Museum of Art acquires work by Hew Locke
Souvenir 1 (Queen Victoria), 2018. Installation view, Hew Locke 'Here’s the Thing' at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham UK, 2019, courtesy the artist and Ikon Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Hales and P.P.O.W announced 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 homes. Here, 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."

Hew Locke (b. Edinburgh, UK, 1959) spent his formative years (1966–80) in Guyana before returning to the UK to complete an MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1994).

Locke explores the languages of colonial and post-colonial power, how different cultures fashion their identities through visual symbols of authority, and how these representations are altered by the passage of time. These explorations have led Locke to a wide range of subject matters, imagery and media, assembling sources across time and space in his deeply layered artworks.

Locke's work is represented in many collections including Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, USA; the Government Art Collection, UK; Santa Barbara Museum of Art, CA, USA; Miami Art Museum, FL, USA; Tate Gallery, UK; the Arts Council of England, UK; the Brooklyn Museum, NY, USA; the Arnold Lehman Collection, USA; Perez Art Museum Miami, FL, USA; the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, USA; Kansas City Collection, USA; the RISD Museum, RI, USA; the New Art Gallery, Walsall UK; Victoria & Albert Museum Drawing Collection, London, UK; the British Museum, London, UK; Kunsthalle Bremen, Germany and the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK.

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