Public appeal launched to create stamps of British heroes of Iraq
An online petition is being launched by The Art Fund, seeking to establish public support for a set of stamps depicting British soldiers who have lost their lives in Iraq.
The Art Fund has gifted Queen and Country to the Imperial War Museum and hopes, with the support of the public, that artist Steve McQueen’s original vision for his work may still be achieved.
In 2003 The Imperial War Museum commissioned McQueen to respond to the conflict in Iraq. The strongest impact on McQueen was the camaraderie and commitment of the young men and women he met there. It is to this that he responded with proposals for a project that reflected upon national loss, intimate reflection and the ultimate sacrifice.
Queen and Country is a development of this initial proposal and comprises facsimiles of sheets of commemorative edition stamps. Each sheet contains a single design for an individual British serviceman or woman who has lost their life in the conflict, with their name and regiment printed in the margin, and each stamp features their photographic portrait. The work is a collaboration with the families of the deceased, to whom the artist acknowledges a huge debt of gratitude. Each photograph has been supplied by the next of kin.
At the start of the project 115 families were asked to participate, of whom 98 agreed. Since then 41 new families have been approached and the project has been updated with 39 new additions. The project will continue until British Forces leave Iraq. Many of the bereaved families have voiced their support for the powerful commemorative work. Each family was consulted about the online appeal for real stamps.
Queen and Country is viewable at the Imperial War Museum until January 2008
To join the appeal and sign the petition please visit www.artfund.org/queenandcountry
For press images please call The Art Fund press office: 0207 2254 804