Grayson Perry explores Brexit and national identity in new work of art
Grayson Perry has released an iconic new artwork exploring Brexit and national identity.
The Restored British Head is an iron and ceramic sculpture that tackles the idea of restoring Britain to its former grandeur – by examining notions of national identity, colonialism, industrialization and what it means to be British as Brexit approaches.
Perry donated the work to Terrence Higgins Trust, a leading HIV and sexual health charity. The sculpture will go under the hammer at Christie’s auction house in London on Monday April 15 to raise vital funds to support people living with HIV and affected by poor sexual health.
In 2008, Perry’s Head of a Fallen Giant was a nostalgic observation of the UK’s changing face and was encrusted with depictions of Britain, such as the Union Flag, the Routemaster Bus, and the Queen.
This latest piece is a continuation of that work with similar maritime and nationalist iconography as Britain is on the verge of leaving the European Union following the divisive referendum in 2016.
Two years ago, Perry unveiled his Brexit vases which feature ideas from the crowd on what both sides of the debate love about Britain.
The vases – one for holidays and one for leftovers – include bacon and eggs, dog walking, teapots, and down to the pub. Speaking at the time, Perry said the vases are “remarkably similar” and show that “we all have a lot more in common than what separates us”.
In his latest post, Grayson Perry CBE said: “Perhaps surprisingly, Brexit has been kind of a muse for me – a big messy inspiration. I have always been fascinated by national identity and why it is so important to some and so unimportant to others.
“Brexit and everything that has happened in the last three years has made us all think more deeply about ‘britishness’ and Restituted British Head is an exploration of that – the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Unlike some, I love to look ahead and I want to see positive change in the world, which is why I am a long-time supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust. The charity’s work to fight the stigma that still surrounds HIV pushes us towards a better and more tolerant society and I am happy that my work can be part of it.
For more information on the prizes and to purchase tickets, visit tht.org.uk/auction.
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