Hew Locke: The Procession

BALTIC and Tate Britain invite us to reflect on history, culture, people, and power
February 10, 2023

Hew Locke: The Procession opens at BALTIC Gateshead on 18 February - after a very special preview evening being held in the Level 4 Gallery next Friday.

Commissioned by Tate and originally presented in Tate Britain, The Procession is an integral part and parcel of the cycle of life: People gather and move together to celebrate, worship, protest, mourn, escape or even to better themselves. Commissioned by Tate and originally presented in Tate Britain, The 62-year old Guyanese-British artist has never previously worked on this scale.

The work includes around 150 figures, each one individuated and wearing a hand-sewn and crafted costume. The Procession is set to roar the length of the gallery. Among much else, it shows what an artist of Locke’s ambition can achieve when given sufficient resources to work at full stretch.

Described by critics as 'A Roaring Carnival of Humanity', The Procession invites visitors to ‘reflect on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people and finance and power.’ In the installation Locke says he ‘makes links with the historical after-effects of the sugar business, and revisits his artistic journey so far, including for example work with statues, share certificates, cardboard, rising sea levels, Carnival and the military.

Throughout, visitors will see figures who travel through space and time. Here, they carry historical and cultural baggage, from evidence of global financial and violent colonial control embellished on their clothes and banners, alongside powerful images of some of the disappearing colonial architecture of Locke’s childhood in Guyana.

The installation takes inspiration from real events and histories but overall, the figures invite us to walk alongside them, into an enlarged vision of an imagined future.

Hew Locke The Procession is at BALTIC 18 February to 11 June