A procession is part and parcel of the cycle of life; people gather and move together to celebrate, worship, protest, mourn, escape or even to better themselves. This is the heart of Hew Locke’s ambitious new project, The Procession.
The Procession invites visitors to ‘reflect on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people and finance and power.’ Tate Britain’s founder was art lover and sugar refining magnate Henry Tate. In the installation Locke says he ‘makes links with the historical after-effects of the sugar business, almost drawing out of the walls of the building,’ also revisiting his artistic journey so far, including for example work with statues, share certificates, cardboard, rising sea levels, Carnival and the military.
Throughout, visitors will see figures who travel through space and time. Here, they carry historical and cultural baggage, from evidence 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 but overall, the figures invite us to walk alongside them, into an enlarged vision of an imagined future.
What I try to do in my work is mix ideas of attraction and ideas of discomfort – colourful and attractive, but strangely, scarily surreal at the same time.
The annual Tate Britain Commission invites artists to create a new artwork in response to the grand space of the Duveen Galleries. Artists who have previously undertaken the commission include Heather Phillipson, Anthea Hamilton, Cerith Wyn Evans and Pablo Bronstein.
Curated by Elena Crippa, Senior Curator, Modern and Contemporary British Art and Clarrie Wallis, former Senior Curator, Contemporary British Art with Bilal Akkouche, Assistant Curator, Contemporary British Art, Hannah Marsh, Curatorial Assistant and Dana Moreno, Curatorial Administrator