Still Life with Artifical Flowers

Hurvin Anderson (1965 - )



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© Hurvin Anderson - Commissioned by the Government Art Collection for The Robson Orr TenTen Award 2018, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Still Life with Artificial Flowers, a screenprint by Hurvin Anderson, is a richly intricate work that evokes a snapshot of the artist’s mother’s front room in Birmingham. The vase in the scene is a prized possession that travelled with her from Jamaica. Set against the warm, deep red flocked wallpaper and resting on elaborate lace doilies, the vase, a mass-produced object, is elevated to an object that speaks of luxury, pride and comfort, marking the front room as the best room in the house. According to Michael McMillan and Stuart Hall’s book The Front Room: Migrant Aesthetics in the Home (2009), the display of artificial flowers in a glass vase were recurring features in many West Indian family homes in the 1960s and 1970s.

    In 2018, Anderson was the first recipient of the Robson Orr TenTen Award, a Government Art Collection (GAC) and Outset Annual Commission from 2018-2028. Produced jointly by the Government Art Collection with Outset Contemporary Art Fund, the project is sponsored by leading philanthropists Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr. Every year over the following decade, a British artist will be commissioned by the GAC to create a unique, limited edition print, which will be shown in diplomatic buildings across the world. A small number will be available for purchase to raise funds for the GAC acquisition fund.

    For this print commission, Anderson worked with Kip Gresham and Alan Grabham of The Print Studio in Cambridge, to replicate the sourced fabrics and wallpapers referenced in his work. The 13 base colours were developed from 15 stencils over 21 layers. The rich use of pattern to flatten and confuse the compositional space references the techniques used by Henri Matisse.

  • About the artist
    Born in Birmingham, as the youngest of eight siblings, Hurvin Anderson was the only child not to be born in Jamaica, instilling an interest in his dual identity that plays throughout his work. He graduated from Wimbledon School of Art in 1994 and his distinct painting style is informed both by British painters such as Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews and David Hockney, as well as a generation of Black British artists, Sonia Boyce, Eddie Chambers and Keith Piper. Anderson’s vibrant paintings draw on the genres of still life, landscape and portraiture to explore the way community and identity can be represented. Repeated images, such as the interior of barbershops, appear throughout his paintings as places synonymous with enterprise, affirmation and community for many Afro-Caribbean migrants. His work pays homage to this cultural history and explores themes of memory, identity and nationhood. Selected solo exhibitions include Backdrop, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada (2016); Dub Versions, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2016); Backdrop, CAM, St Louis, USA (2015); Reporting Back, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2013); and ART NOW: Hurvin Anderson, Tate Britain, London, UK (2009). He was shortlisted for the 2017 Turner Prize.
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  • Details
    Still Life with Artifical Flowers
    Series Title
    height: 75.2 cm; width: 56 cm
    Commissioned by the Government Art Collection for The Robson Orr TenTen Award 2018, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission
    GAC number