Goshka Macuga turned Secretary of State Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations (UN) Security Council on February 5 2003 — when the tapestry reproduction of Guernica which normally hangs outside the Security Council Chambers was covered — into a reflective art exhibition held at London’s Whitechapel Gallery. Macuga sought to remind viewers of Guernica’s history and the importance of specific locations. In January 1939, the East London Aid Spain Committee association, comprising a committee of trade unions from Stepney, a working-class area in the East End of London, and the Labour Party, organised the exhibition of Guernica and its preparatory drawings at the Whitechapel Gallery, attracting 15,000 visitors in its first week. One aim was to raise a million pennies to help send a boat of food supplies to the Spanish people. Contrast this to the covering of the tapestry reproduction of Guernica at the UN in 2003 and Powell’s arguments for the necessity for what became the massive “shock and awe” bombing and invasion of Iraq.
Installation The Nature of the Beast, Whitechapel Art Gallery