LONDON.- With the release of the Lest We Forget stamps on 6 November, ahead of Remembrance Sunday, The Art Fund, the UK s leading independent art charity, is calling on Royal Mail to issue official war artist Steve McQueens commemorative stamp design. The stamps feature portraits of service men and women killed in the conflict in Iraq . In a survey of the British public seven out of 10 said they would buy the stamps and nearly 14,000 have signed the petition at www.artfund.org/queenandcountry
Diane Douglas, mother of Lance Corporal Allan Douglas who served in The Highlanders and who died on 30 January 2006 aged 23, said: We still think about Allan everyday and wonder what he would look like. Hed be so grown up now. It would be an honour to see his face on a real stamp and have him remembered in this way. It would also allow people to realise the ultimate sacrifice all these young men and women have made for their country.
David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: Many who have lost relatives serving in the British Armed Forces in Iraq are hanging onto the hope that one day soon their loved ones portrait may appear on a commemorative stamp. Queen and Country is a very touching but powerful reminder of their sacrifice. I very much hope that Royal Mail will recognise the growing strength of support for this campaign and reconsider their refusal to issue stamps based on Steve McQueen's designs.
The Art Fund, which gave Queen and Country to the Imperial War Museum in November 2007, is spearheading the campaign to gain public support for the project and is calling on members of the public to sign the online petition asking Royal Mail to publish the stamps at www.artfund.org/queenandcountry
The work of art, entitled, Queen and Country was created by Turner prize winning artist Steve McQueen in collaboration with 136 families whose loved ones have lost their lives in Iraq . The work consists of a large oak cabinet with vertical drawers containing a series of facsimile postage sheets. Each sheet is dedicated to a member of the armed forces who has lost their life. Until the stamps are officially issued by Royal Mail the artist considers Queen and Country to be incomplete.
Steve McQueen was born in London in 1969. He won the Turner Prize in 1999 and was awarded an OBE in 2002. His first feature film Hunger won the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year and is released in the UK on 31 October. He has been selected to represent Britain at the 53rd Venice Biennale.