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Queen and Country was created by Steve McQueen in response to a visit he made to Iraq in 2003 following his appointment by the Imperial War Museum's Art Commissions Committee as an official UK war artist. Queen and Country was also commissioned by Manchester International Festival.
During the six days McQueen spent in Iraq, he was moved and inspired by the camaraderie of the servicemen and women that he met. He proposed that portraits of those who have lost their lives during the conflict be issued as stamps by Royal Mail.
'An official set of Royal Mail stamps struck me as an intimate but distinguished way of highlighting the sacrifice of individuals in defence of our national ideals.
The stamps would focus on individual experience without euphemism. It would form an intimate reflection of national loss that would involve the families of the dead and permeate the everyday – every household and every office.' Steve McQueen
While discussions were under way with Royal Mail, Steve made Queen and Country - a cabinet containing a series of facsimile postage sheets bearing multiple portrait heads, each one dedicated to an individual, with details of name, regiment, age and date of death printed in the margin.
The images were chosen by the families of the deceased.
Viewers are invited to pull out the double-sided panels bearing the sheets from a wooden box and thereby create an intimate space to contemplate the imagery.
However, until Royal Mail agrees to issue the stamps, the artist considers the overall work incomplete. The Art Fund is spearheading the campaign to gain public support for Steve's vision for Royal Mail to officially issue the stamps.
Some key media coverage
Why is the Royal Mail blocking McQueen's Queen and Country?
The Stamp of Remembrance
Steve McQueen's war memorial gets my stamp of approval
The Last Post
The New Face of Remembrance
McQueen's Stamp Battle Goes North
"They put robins on stamps - why not our sons who died in Iraq"
Artist unveils tribute to troops killed in Iraq
Artist campaigns for stamps war tribute
“Joan Bakewell: Let's see these soldiers' faces on our stamps”
Fallen soldiers 'not honoured'
‘Public Support’ Iraq Stamp Tribute
Wales wants stamps to honour troops
'Imperial War Museum: The poignant power of the 'war' artists
'Call for hero soldiers on stamps'
'Petition to honour Britain's soldiers on stamps launched'
'War campaign stamps for dead soldiers'
'In praise of..stamps for soliders'
'I don't ever think I'll be fine again' says mother who lost her daughter in Iraq roadside bomb