<-- Google Analytics START --> <-- Google Analytics END -->

john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, December 03, 2007
    A tribute to our last protester

    Nice to have the Turner Prize here in Liverpool for a change. Even better to see it awarded to Mark Wallinger, whose State Britain is a tribute to 'our last protester' Brian Haw, whose peace camp was removed by police on 23 May 2006, just hours after the Tate agreed to permit Wallinger to install a full-scale copy of Haw's array of placards, banners, and t-shirted teddy bears in their Millbank Duveen Galleries.

    Though his work is consistently bold and challenging (remember Ecce Homo) Wallinger doesn't come across as a confident speaker. But re-reading what he said on recieving the award at the Albert Dock tonight, his vision and inspiration is clear: 'Brian Haw is a remarkable man who has waged a tireless campaign against the folly and hubris of our government's foreign policy,' he said. 'For six-and-a-half years he has remained steadfast in Parliament Square, the last dissenting voice in Britain. Bring home the troops, give us back our rights, trust the people.'

    The sensible bit of the BBC coverage of the Turner Prize award reminded us that 'since the mid-1980s Wallinger’s primary concern has been to establish a valid critical approach to the "politics of representation and the representation of politics."' He's certainly managed to set that up with this one. The challenge is whether the public discourse can rise above the usual predictable banalities surrounding modern art; it'd be good if it could; if for no other reason than as a fitting tribute to our last protester.