Head Of State

Head Of State

Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps began working together under the name kennardphillipps in 2002, collaborating to produce art that responded to the build up to and aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Both attended anti-war demonstrations and their collaboration saw them create works that reflect their opposition to the conflict such as Photo Op (2007), in which former Prime Minister Tony Blair is depicted taking a ‘selfie’ in front of an explosion,  

“We both had this deep need, desire, to make work to counter…I don’t know, British foreign policy which sounds insane right, just to try and counter military action with artwork but, I don’t know, that’s the position that we take as artists - that it is a very valuable and powerful way to operate against military might and violence and policy,” said Cat.

In the wake of the 7/7 attacks in London and with the backdrop of new terror legislation introduced by the government, they began work on head of state (2007).

It features central image of Tony Blair alongside CCTV cameras and images representing some of the people and issues that were in the news at the time. It includes photos of campaigner Rose Gentle, whose son Fusilier Gordon Gentle was killed in Iraq; former home secretary John Reid  and Jean Charles de Menezes, who was shot and killed by armed police in July 2005.

Both Cat and Peter believe art has a powerful role to play in conversations around conflict.

“Art has been really important in the Imperial War Museum because you are looking at all these weapons and there’s a sort of  text with them but then you look at a work that actually responds – you know, Paul Nash or whatever it is – actually responds to the war. Art is absolutely integral to having a building, a museum like that to show how people respond - either artists who were in the wars or artists like us who are working with material from wars,” said Peter.  

head of state by kennardphillipps was shown at at IWM London as part of Age of Terror: Art since 9/11, an exhibition exploring how artists have responded to conflict since 9/11.

Image:  kennardphillipps Head of State 2007

Age of Terror

David David Cotterrell, Gateway II, 2009 Courtesy of Danielle Arnaud Gallery and the artist
David David Cotterrell, Gateway II, 2009 Courtesy of Danielle Arnaud Gallery and the artist
David Cotterell on Making Art in Afghanistan
David Cotterell went to Afghanistan in 2007, spending time with British forces and documenting the medical treatment of casualties and their journey away from the front line to medical treatment back in the UK.
View of gallery showing marble surveillance stand and figures
IWM London, Age of Terror Exhibition
Exhibitions & Installations

Age of Terror: Art since 9/11

IWM London
26 October 2017 to 28 May 2018

Indre Serptyte
Contemporary conflict
Indrė Šerpytytė - 9/11 and the Age of Terror
Indrė Šerpytytė's work 150MPH is partly the Lithuanian-born artist's way of processing the events of 9/11 and partly a monument to the people who lost their lives in the attacks on the Twin Towers.