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Hew Locke

Contemporary Art

For this monumental portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Hew Locke used hundreds of inexpensive plastic tchotchkes such as flowers, insects, doll heads, necklaces, tiaras, and toy swords. The British-born artist grew up in Guyana, which was part of the British Empire from the early nineteenth century until its independence in 1966, and experienced the legacies of imperialism firsthand. The work’s title, Koh-i-noor, refers to one of the world’s largest cut diamonds, which was in the possession of various Sikh, Mughal, and Persian rulers until it was ceded to Queen Victoria following the British annexation of India. Locke explores how Britain’s transnational, colonialist histories manifest in contemporary society and teases out the ways personal greed, vanity, and artifice underlay global empire.
MEDIUM Mixed media
DATES 2005
DIMENSIONS 116 x 86 x 25 in. (294.6 x 218.4 x 63.5 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Contemporary Art
CREDIT LINE Gift of Charles Diamond and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Hew Locke (Scottish, born 1959). Koh-i-noor, 2005. Mixed media, 116 x 86 x 25 in. (294.6 x 218.4 x 63.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Charles Diamond and bequest of Richard J. Kempe, by exchange, 2007.54. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007.54_PS11.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 2007.54_PS11.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2021
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