An artwork commemorating British service men and women killed in Iraq, including several from the West Midlands, will go on display at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from July 18 until September 26.
Queen and Country, by Turner Prizewinner and official war artist Steve McQueen, consists of a large oak cabinet with vertical drawers containing 155 facsimile postage stamp sheets. Each sheet is dedicated to a fallen member of the Armed Forces and features a photographic portrait chosen by their family.
It is being brought to Wolverhampton Art Gallery by The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, as part of its campaign to persuade Royal Mail to issue the stamps. Visitors to the gallery will be invited to sign an online petition, which can be found at www.artfund.org/queenandcountry and has so far attracted nearly 19,000 signatures.
The work includes the image of 26 year-old Private Leon Spicer from Tamworth, who served with the Staffordshire Regiment. He was killed along with two other British service personnel by a roadside bomb whilst serving in Iraq on July 16, 2005.
Leon Spicer’s mother, Mrs Bridie Spicer, said: “We think Queen and Country is a wonderful tribute to our son and all the service personnel who have lost their lives. Real stamps should be issued to recognise the sacrifice they have made; they should never be forgotten. We would love to see the stamps produced in our lifetime, what greater honour could we wish for our son?”
Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, says: “Bringing Queen and Country to Wolverhampton Art Gallery is an opportunity for people to see first hand this moving yet deceptively simple work of art that reminds us of the enormous sacrifices made by British servicemen and women in Iraq. We hope that visitors will express their support for the campaign by signing The Art Fund’s petition to see these images issued as official stamps.”
Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 and was awarded an OBE in 2002.