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HEW LOCKE

King Creole Tate Britain

Installation on facade of Tate Britain.  Photo Mark Heathcote © Tate, London 2005

King Creole
2004, 6.3 X 4.8m
Steel frame , plastic flowers, tinsel, plastic ties
Public Artwork      Coats of Arms

Commissioned by the BBC

"I think of King Creole as a giant funeral wreath – the sort you might see at the funeral of ‘The Don’ in a 1970’s mafia film. It is wreathed not with living flowers, but with artificial, dead blooms - King Creole is King Death.

"The design is based on an original Pugin design for the House of Commons coat-of-arms, also shown on the back of every penny. My piece refers to the buccaneering, piratical attitude that has existed in British history as well as the often vicious cut and thrust of debate in the House, and of the real wars that can result. Tinsel blood stains the bottom edge of the portcullis. Plastic chrysanthemums are entwined with English roses and cannabis leaves.

"King Creole takes on the New Orleans and West Indian Carnival tradition, which have historically made comment on current affairs, local and international politics. The downfall of Saddam reminded me of the death of 'The Don’. The cannabis refers to the Legalise It campaign, being debated in Parliament as I was making this piece." - Hew Locke

Click here to view a film of King Creole (2.49 minutes)

King Creole being installed BBC

King Creole detail of materials

During installation at the BBC New Media Village.  Photo Zander Olsen

 
All images © Hew Locke & DACS unless otherwise indicated