Detail - Print for a Politician, 2005
In keeping with the Politics in Print theme of the summer, The Sunday Times yesterday had a very interesting report on what the Cabinet in Whitehall have chosen to decorate their offices and meeting rooms with from the Government Art Collection. With its origins dating back to 1898, the Collection places works of art in major British Government buildings in the United Kingdom as well as British Embassies around the world in order to promote Britain and to reflect its history and culture with works produced by British creatives that range from the sixteenth-century to the present day. The article by Maurice Chittenden and Gillian Passmore describes the Chancellor, George Osborne, as choosing a three-plate etching by 2003 Turner Prize winner, Grayson Perry. The aptly named, "Print for a Politician", hangs in the Chancellor's meeting room and depicts a landscape executed in a traditional style but on closer viewing, lies every social group Perry could think of - from fundamentalists to Satanists - and speaks of the unavoidable conflicts in society. In all its 7ft x 2ft glory, it can't be hard for Mr. Osborne or anyone else from the Cabinet to notice this dominating print while discussing political affairs. Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, has chosen works that bridge the political vision of the coalition with sculptures of both Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone and Tory Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli, whose electoral campaigns in 1868 features in my bandana design that has been commissioned by Devon County Council.
After producing "Print for a Politician", Perry thought it would be funny if it ended up in the Houses of Parliament and as it now hangs in what must be the nerve centre for Britain's economic future, it is fascinating to think what effect the print has on the Cabinet Ministers. My Devon-centric bandana may not make to the walls of Whitehall but it would be nice to see it hanging in Devon County Council where it can be viewed by politicians and visitors alike and invite a visual escape on a political journey of social history and identity.