Saturday, July 14, 2012

Art journal #156: The Queen: Art and Image at National Portrait Gallery

The Queen is such an iconic image for us in HK that is ingrained in our head without us very consciously aware of it? Her portraits of course hanged in government buildings, but it is the stamped, the coins, that we see everyday. It has really just became an image. It signifies an era that is past. She indeed has lived among us for many years. How she is presented by photographers and painters over the years is really interesting. In the early days of coronation, she is this bemused girl looking at the world with a distance. Then she was  increasingly seen as dealing with “the problem of her responsibility”. Then come family life and attempts to make her look DTE and close to public. Then it is the unforgiving media frenzy starting in the 80s into the royal life that led to people questioning the value of the monarchy. She shifted to the side with Diana glowing in the middle of photos at the same time. Respect for the Queen hit a low with Princess Diana’s death. Then it is her comeback – depiction of her as someone with wisdom, resilience, but still desolated and under the burden of history and responsibility. Though holding it up extremely well as the rock for many in the country when the world is fast-changing and (at least parts of it) is falling apart. Chris Levine’s photo of her is by far my favorite.

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