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Hew Locke

Sat 29 April – Sun 25 June 2023

Hew Locke: The Ambassadors

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The Lowry commissioned Hew Locke’s The Ambassadors in 2019. The global Pandemic delayed its arrival here. After being shown in London and Rotterdam, we are delighted to bring this major new work to Salford. 

Locke is a Guyanese-British sculptor whose practice is rooted in the languages of colonial and post-colonial power, employing visual cues and symbols of authority across different cultures and histories. His work invites us to consider our relationship to the past and dominant historical narratives, highlighting their relevance to today’s society.

Central to this exhibition, The Ambassadors consists of four Black figures on horseback, acting as envoys, bringing messages from the past to the future. Each of them is intricately decorated with symbols that echo past cultures, including Benin bronzes, colonial medals, currency, and much more. With these figures, Locke offers a counterpoint to traditional statues and monuments, subverting their symbols of power, and questioning who our society chooses to memorialise and celebrate.

Visitors to the exhibition will have an opportunity to explore and reflect on public monuments in the UK, and to make their own creative response to The Ambassadors through sculpture, drawing and writing. In an adjacent gallery space transformed to look like an artists’ studio, visitors will have access to a range of craft materials and guidance to make their own mini monuments or to design the embellishments for an equestrian statue, and to be displayed in the gallery space.

© Hew Locke. Photo by Anna Arca