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Almine Rech

Hew Locke The Ambassadors

Apr 29 — Jun 25, 2023 | The Lowry, Salford, UK

The Lowry is delighted to present Hew Locke’s The Ambassadors. Originally commissioned by The Lowry in 2019, this is the first opportunity to present this major new work by the acclaimed Guyanese-British artist in Salford. Locke’s sculptural installation consists of four Black figures on horseback, acting as envoys, bringing messages from the past to the future. Their animals are weighed down with baggage, and they them themselves are festooned with glittering symbols that echo our real past and real cultures. There is a cascade of stuff; Benin bronzes, portraits of Toussaint Louverture, colonial medals, six-guns, slave pennies, symbols of justice. With these figures, Locke offers a counterpoint to traditional statues and monuments, subverting their symbols of colonial power, and questioning who our society chooses to memorialise and celebrate.  

Michael Simpson, Director of Visual Art at The Lowry says: “The Ambassadors is by far The Lowry’s most important commission to date, given Hew Locke’s international reputation; the quality of the work and the wider political and social debates that surround public statuary. The Lowry was proud to commission The Ambassadors in 2019, and it was hugely disappointing that the Pandemic prevented us from showing them sooner.  We are now thrilled be able present them as originally planned in Salford and for our audiences to enjoy.” 
Since being commissioned the works feature in the landmark group exhibition In the Black Fantastic at the Hayward Gallery, London (29 June –⁠ 18 Sept 2022) and Kunsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands (19 Nov – 10 Apr 2023), Locke’s The Ambassadors will now have a solo presentation at The Lowry, Salford.   

Press release

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More on Hew Locke