Monday, 19 December 2011

Portraits: 27

Keith Piper, artist, in front of his work at Battersea Arts Centre, London, 1987
As we are about to see Meryl Streep's performance as Margaret Thatcher in the new film The Iron Lady, this is a small reminder of how plenty of people – like Piper, who back in 1982 had co-founded BLK Art Group to link art with politics affecting black people – saw Thatcher's presence at the time as a negative one. I also took a shot of Piper in front of another of his large paintings – of children in Soweto – thinking that Thatcher filling the framing of this photo might work against it being an image of Piper. But I think his pose and expression belie the domination of Thatcher in the frame. There's an article about Piper's work at the time here, through which I learned only as I write this 25 years later, that one of his paintings – sourced "from other people's photographs" – was from a photograph I took of a woman who had been raped by the police. (She is second from left in the photo at the top of the page.) A strange coincidence across time. For City Limits.

For more on these portraits see here and the portraits tag on the right

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