20 September 2013

Artists of the river pageant

Part of the Queen's jubilee celebrations in 2012  was an amazing river pageant, the final hours of which were dampened by considerable rain, and chill, and gloomy skies ... but the boats kept moving, the singers kept singing, the painters (on bridges, boats and balconies) kept painting. Recently, at the vertical gallery in Battersea Park, an exhibition of the work from the day (see more here).

Quirkiest work was this cobbling-together of the spirit of the day with seemingly all of Thames history -
Thames Flotilla by Michael Coldman
"On the day I watched the pageant on tv at home. I set up a mini flotilla of model boats sailing & steaming past the tv and presided over by Staffordshire figures of seated Victoria & Albert. I photographed this with the Queen on the royal barge in the background. For the pageant exhibition, instead of just supplementing the model boats used on the day with my made-up ones, I decided to make the lot! Some of the materials used were from local 19th century rubbish dumps. All materials are re-used with some specific boats in mind such as the royal barge / 18th century state barge / the barge with bells on."

The pink sails are old needlebooks
Joint favourite, for completely opposite reasons, was this little boat made from old letters which hung in the central well of the gallery -
Two views of Pageant Eiodolon by Edmund Prizeman
"The youngest artist in the show, Edmund attends the prince's Drawing School Saturday class for gifted and talented 1-18 year olds and is a pupil at the Brit School. He is fascinated by found materials and creating a mixture of imagery from memory and imagination."

The works went from the traditional to the dead-modern.
A scroll of watercolour boats by Alexander Cresswell

Above, an embroidery (Diamond Jubilee Flotilla by Rob Pepper); below, a patched
panorama photograph taken from the then-unfinished Shard
The embroidery claimed to have half a million stitches, digital machine stitches -
I'm not sure what the fact of it being stitched actually adds to the graphic concept (apart from "taking art off the wall and onto the sofa"). Would it work as a drawing, or a printout? Does size matter?

Coloured inks, including gold, for this rendition -
River Scroll by Max Naylor
"I remember almost nothing from the day. I was totally absorbed in the task at hand, trying to somehow capture the riot of information, the crowds, buildings, vast array of craft and undulating water, all from a moving vessel. Then came the rain! I disembarked exhausted and soaked through. The marks made on paper are my only record of the experience."

This one grew on me as I looked and read the caption. For a start, it's painted on a bit of an old door - which even has its keys, at upper right -
The Diamond Jubilee Queen by Adjani Okpu-Egbe
"I was an honorary guest in the British Embassy in Cameroon [where he was born] in March where I was invited by the High Commissioner to exhibit at the 13th Commonwealth week celebrations in Cameroon. A giclee print of "The Diamond Jubilee Queen" now adorns the wall of the high commissioner's office." Adjani has a makeshift studio in the back of a Brixton off-licence - the freezer, chairs, tables and everything else are painted in his characteristic style. It hosts a constant flow of the Cameroonian community.


Kathleen Loomis said...

well, the embroidery was a bit of a letdown! hope you enjoyed the rest of the show

irene macwilliam said...

What a brilliant idea Margaret to do your flotilla. I would have loved to be a fly on your wall watching it all. Fantastic
I found the TV coverage very boring so it would have been great to have the imagination to do what you did.
I giggled when I read about it but could not explain about it to my husband who was watching the Great fire of London. He had to wait for the ads.