A £19,500 artwork commissioned to depict the 2019 General Election has been on display in Parliament.
The taxpayer-funded project is the first cell phone to enter the parliamentary art collection.
The colorful hanging sculpture on display at Portcullis House was created by Nicky Hirst, who has been chosen as Parliament’s Official Artist of Choice for 2019.
Since 2001, the Advisory Board of the Spokesman for Artworks has commissioned an artist by choice for each Bundestag election, whose artworks are acquired for the Parliament’s art collection.
The latest addition, titled There Was A Time 2019-20, is the result of the artist’s travels during the election as she followed the campaign trail and attended related events such as hustings and manifesto launches.
The moving shape of the mobile is meant to represent the “merry-go-round” of stories and people voting, and the 64 colorful abstract shapes are meant to symbolize politicians and voters and celebrate the diversity of the election.
The artwork was approved by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Artworks for inclusion in Parliament’s collection earlier this year after progress was temporarily halted due to the pandemic.
The House of Commons said the project was funded from the committee’s budget. The commission came to £17,000 and Elective Artists can also claim travel, board and lodging expenses which totaled a further £2,545.
Conservative MP Dean Russell, chairman of the committee, said the play continues the tradition of commissioning artworks “to be informed and inspired by future generations”.
He said: “The 2019 election was the first December election in almost 100 years and also produced the most diverse return of MPs in history. Nicky’s work reflects this, using movement and color to represent the diversity of voices and the cyclical nature of the electoral process.”
Ms Hirst, who was born in Nottingham and grew up in Leeds, said she wanted the play to “reflect not only our democratic process, but also the diversity and myriad of opinions I have seen and heard within the electorate”.
She said: “Unusually, the 2019 federal election campaign took place in the cold and wet months of November and December. As I traveled across the country, almost every city I visited had its own Christmas market with a Ferris wheel or carousel.
“These rides, combined with huge station and city hall clocks, brought the mind to concepts around time and movement – particularly the election cycle that I was following.”