Corgis and horses are out; tattoos and shades are in. Portraits of the Queen by 52 contemporary artists to mark her platinum jubilee depict the monarch in ways rarely seen since the days of the Sex Pistols.
Among the works are Queen of the Hood, by the ballpoint artist James Mylne, which shows a “majestic and stunning” young Elizabeth in regal Order of the Garter robes accessorised with designer sunglasses.
Mylne said: “A key aspect of what I do is mix classical ideals with urban styles. For this piece I took it a bit further, representing her in a way that fits in with a more modern, fashionable and cool culture.”
Another, by Louisa Tebbutt, shows the “never complain, never explain” monarch with a strip of union flag across her mouth. James Vaulkhard made an image out of 2p coins, while Ernesto Romano has created an X-ray profile of the Queen.
Romano said: “The depiction aims to convey the message of how her cultural influence during 70 years of reign can travel beyond borders, race, gender and social status, encompassing universal values of equality and diversity.”
Will Teather’s Queen sports a tattoo of a serpent dripping blood below the words “Skate and destroy”. Elena Cecchinato created 200 queens in a project called Multividuality, which include a queen of angels, queen of lovers, queen of fathers, and queen of dreamers.
“Working with an iconic figure such as Elizabeth II made me reflect on how multitude and singularity are inevitably part of the same narrative for every human being,” said Cecchinato. “All humans – despite their privileges – have to deal with the same life’s rituals of passage and emotions: birth, death, love, disappointment or sadness.”
A 2016 image by the musician and graffiti artist Goldie of the young monarch against a union flag is included in an exhibition, Art Save the Queen, that opens at [email protected] on London’s South Bank in June. Images will also be displayed on London Underground poster sites at Victoria Station and digital versions of the artworks will be released.
Dylan Roberts, who curated the exhibition for its organisers, the Ad Lib Gallery, said the works covered a wide range of styles, including oil paintings, mixed media, collage and street art. “HM Queen Elizabeth is a true icon and inspiration to people everywhere. We have been overwhelmed by the work the artistic community is submitting, underlining what a cultural inspiration the Queen is.”
The Sex Pistols’ anti-royalist punk record God Save the Queen, released at the time of the monarch’s silver jubilee, is being reissued to mark her platinum jubilee.