Celebrating Contemporary: Steve McQueen's Queen and Country

  • 23 September 2011

Celebrating Contemporary examines a series f commemorative stamps by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, Queen and Country, 2006 © The artist

Steve McQueen, Queen and Country, 2006

Celebrating Contemporary examines Queen and Country, a series of stamps commemorating servicemen who died in Iraq, by artist and filmmaker Steve McQueen.

The work

Steve McQueen's ongoing project Queen and Country is based on a simple but poignant concept: creating a sheet of commemorative stamps for each of the British servicemen who lost their lives in Iraq. Every sheet contains 168 stamps, each bearing the face of the serviceman, with details of their name, regiment, age and date of death printed in the margin.

The sheets are housed in an oak cabinet in individual frames, and visitors are invited to pull out the frames to view the work. Queen and Country can be seen at Imperial War Museum, London, who purchased the piece with help from the Art Fund in 2007.

The artist

Steve McQueen is a British artist and filmmaker, who has won the Turner Prize, a BAFTA award and the Cannes Film Festival's Caméra d'Or for his work. He studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design before attending Goldsmiths' College, where he first became interested in film.

His films are predominantly shot black and white, projected in enclosed spaces in galleries. His style is minimalist, influenced by the work of Andy Warhol and La Nouvelle Vague. McQueen represented Britain at the 2009 Venice Biennale, and was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2011.

Did you know?

McQueen's first movie, Hunger, addressed the 1981 Irish hunger strike. It won awards at Cannes, Sydney and Toronto International Film Festivals. His second feature film, Shame, debuted at the Venice Film Festival on 4 September 2011.

VOTE for Queen and Country by Steve McQueen