New works for Herbert's Peace and Reconciliation Collection

  • 31 March 2011

The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry has acquired five challenging works by contemporary artists Peter Kennard and Cat Picton-Phillips.

The works all represent the harrowing nature of war and conflict through combining serious and humorous images. Peter Kennard's work has focused on responding to the social and political situation around him, producing a powerful response to conflict, armaments and injustice. His methods and approach have developed around his desire to express anger and revulsion but he is also motivated by the wish to inspire positive action and protest.

The new acquisitions:

Untitled, Thatcher photomontage, 1985, by Peter Kennard
This work features Margaret Thatcher wearing a gas mask. The image distorts symbols of power and conflict in a humorous and shocking way.

Target London, 1985, by Peter Kennard
Produced for the Greater London Council, these posters focuson the government's plan to protect Londoners in the event of a nuclear war and included material from the Protect and Survive civil defence pamphlet.

Kent Portfolio, (Photomontages 1973-1991), by Peter Kennard
This portfolio provides a survey of Kennard's most recognisable photomontage work.

Award Portfolio, 2003 by kennardphillipps
This work showcases the striking series created by kennardphillips in response to the invasion of Iraq.

Photo Op, 2005 by kennardphillipps
This piece shows former Prime Minister Tony Blair taking a photo of himself in front of an explosion. This striking image has become synonymous with the anti-war movement.

The works are now part of the museum’s Peace and Reconciliation collection. We helped make the acquisition possible alongside the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Collecting Cultures programme.

Our director Stephen Deuchar said: “Peter Kennard isn’t afraid to tackle difficult and sensitive issues relating to conflict and war, and he does so in a challenging and thought-provoking way. It’s important these works go on public display to help provoke thought, debate and dialogue. The Herbert’s Peace and Reconciliation collection is an ideal home for them and we’re pleased to have helped make this purchase possible.”

In the 1970s Kennard began to work with photomontage as an appropriate medium to respond to the Vietnam War. Photomontage is the process and result of combining two or more images and pictures to create one. In the last 40 years photomontage has developed from film and darkrooms through to Photoshop and digital imagery.

Peter Kennard has been working in collaboration with Cat Picton-Phillips since 2002 through kennardphillipps, producing art in response to the invasion of Iraq.