Tuesday, December 04, 2007

State Britain

“State Britain”, (an irreverent reference to Tate Britain) recreates Brian Haw's anti-war protest in Parliament Square. It has won the Turner Prize although most of the media coverage references an earlier work by Mark Wallinger which amused the tabloids who could show him dressed as a teddy bear.

"a bold political statement with art's ability to articulate fundamental human truths" is how the somewhat pompous judges described it. However Mark Wallinger praised Brian Haw's "tireless campaign against the folly and hubris of our government's foreign policy". He added: "Bring home the troops. Give us back our rights. Trust the people."

He added: "I think it's regrettable that people have been so quiescent about what the Serious Organised Crime Act has done to people who want to demonstrate. It is against Magna Carta, and that was produced in 1215, before democracy. It's important these freedoms are fought for and preserved."

The painstaking detail with which Mark Wallinger reproduced the protest meant it cost rather more than the 5000 pound prize itself but it is important that a protest which has been attacked with all the force of the corporations and their parliamentary mouthpieces has achieved this recognition.




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