IWM Peter Kennard

Peter Kennard’s unofficial war artist at the Imperial War Museum included various pieces relating to war and nuclear disbarment. This exhibition was full of political pieces with a mix of fine art. The ­pieces exhibited showed a great variety of Kennard’s work, from work he made at art school to pieces made last year. Walking through this exhibit I noticed that a lot of the work was visual and straight to the point. He uses a lot of strong and symbolic imagery to convey his messages. I think this is a very effective way of getting a message across; visuals are able to speak to many people. For example there was one piece of a pair of hands clutching a knife and fork over a plate of pennies. This piece managed to convey many different issues in one; hungry, poverty, capitalism, etc. I really liked this piece both aesthetically and conceptually. Other pieces in the exhibition include earlier pieces by Kennard, these ones had a much more fine arty feel to them; very expressive and conceptual. One piece showed hands clamping into and clawing away a section of a newspaper, possibly the stock section? This was a powerful piece; the use of artistic painting and a real artifact made this piece stand out to me. I’ve not seen a lot of fine art style political art, so seeing Kennard’s work was very eye opening to me and what political art is and can be. As long as there is a concept behind it and the message is communicated I think a piece can be successful.

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