This is a tricky question that comes from the Great British Art Debate. The Great British Art Debate is a partnership between Tate Britain, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service and Museums Sheffield, working together to use historic British Art collections to explore questions about nationhood and identity in Britain today.
This question actually raises many more questions, so this week’s debate is quite open. We’d really like to hear your thoughts more widely on art and nationality, both in the UK and beyond.
Comedian Simon Munnery interviewed some visitors to Tate Britain to get their thoughts on the question.
So is it possible to categorise British art? Is there something peculiarly British about art made in Britain, or by artists born in Britain? Could you categorise the works made in a certain place more than works made in a certain time? How far does the culture an artist works in influence their work? We’d love to hear if your work has changed after a change of location.
Is art a large part of constructing a nation’s identity? Does the UK culturally think of itself very differently to other nations? Perhaps it’s changed over time – do historic British artworks say something real about the Britain of the past? Or do they contribute to a fantasy about what Britain is and was, that has little relevance in today’s global world?
The Great British Art Debate is a partnership between Tate Britain, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service and Museums Sheffield, supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and by the MLA’s Renaissance programme.