Hew Locke has generously produced Tate
, 2015 on the occasion of the Tate Britain exhibition Artist & Empire, 25 November 2015 – 10 April 2016, in support of Tate. An edition of 20, each work is signed and numbered by the artist.
For over a decade Hew Locke has been interrogating the idea of the Hero, as manifested in the thousands of public statues scattered around our towns, creating work he has described as “mindful vandalism”.
In this work, Locke layers motifs of sugar cubes and sugar cane, made of engraved brass, onto a bust of Henry Tate, an industrialist who had made his fortune as a sugar refiner and offered his collection of British nineteenth-century art to the nation and provided funding for the first Tate Gallery. The significance of Henry Tate’s bust to the artist is not only in relation to Tate Gallery, now Tate Britain, but also to Brixton Library, one of several libraries built by Henry Tate in south London and where the original bust is located; somewhere the artist passes by every day.
Artist and Empire
40.6 x 39.2 cm
Cut and engraved brass, polished and aged with mounted giclee print
Edition of 20, signed and numbered
Date of work
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Locke (b. 1959, Edinburgh, UK) is a sculptor and contemporary visual artist based in Brixton, London. 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. In 2000 he won a Paul Hamlyn Award and the EASTinternational Award. In 2010 he was shortlisted for the Fourth plinth, Trafalgar Square, London. In 2015 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge dedicated Locke's public sculpture The Jurors, commissioned to commemorate 800 years since the signing of Magna Carta.
His works have been acquired by collections such as The Tate gallery, London and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In 2016 The National Portrait Gallery, London, acquired a portrait of Locke by Nicholas Sinclair.