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Wednesday 11 November 2009

National Portrait Gallery to host McQueen’s Stamp tribute to Iraq fallen

On the day that the nation observes a two minute silence to remember those who have given their life in service to their country, The Art Fund, the UK’s leading art charity, announces that Queen and Country, the work of Official War Artist for Iraq, Steve McQueen, will go on display at the National Portrait Gallery in the Spring. This will mark the culmination of a UK wide tour of the artwork which is part of a campaign for images of those who died as a result of the Iraq conflict to be issued as official postage stamps by Royal Mail.

McQueen’s artwork is a collaboration with 155 families who lost a loved one in Iraq. It takes the form of facsimile postage stamps which are housed in a large oak cabinet. The work will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery between 20 March and 20 July during which time it is hoped that visitors to the gallery will show their support for the campaign for stamps which Royal Mail has so far refused to issue.

For details of the tour, and to sign The Art Fund petition, please visit www.artfund.org/queenandcountry

The Art Fund bought Queen and Country outright for the Imperial War Museum in 2007 and is spearheading the campaign and managing the tour of the artwork. To date over 21,000 have signed The Art Fund’s online petition in favour of the stamps which can be found at www.artfund.org/queenandcountry.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund said: “Queen and Country is a powerfully moving work presented by an artist of international renown which challenges us to think again about the relationship we have with those who die serving in our name. The public support for these stamps demonstrates the enthusiasm for the whole country to join in reflection and tribute. Bringing the work to the National Portrait Gallery is an important next platform for the campaign to see Steve McQueen’s vision realised”.

Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 and was awarded an OBE in 2002. His first feature film Hunger won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and the Carl Foreman Award at the 2009 BAFTAs. In 2009 he represented Britain at the 53rd Venice Biennale with his new film Giardini.

Image credits:

Steve McQueen by David Parry
Major Matthew James Bacon, Intelligence Corps, Died 11 September 2005, aged 34.

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