Peter Kennard the artist best known for his photo-montage of Tony Blair taking a selfie in front of a Middle East bombing campaign has unveiled a new work that explores commercial greed in the art world. This free download entitled ‘Peace on Earth’ depicts the Virgin Mary her face a praying earth photo while her halo has been replaced by the CND symbol.
“The idea is to give something back at this time of year, Mr Kennard has stated” he added. “I wanted to make an image that makes people think – and isn’t too horrific for them to put on their wall.”
Peace on Earth is copyright free, “The art market has become really disgusting,” Kennard feels. “Art has got so fucked up by being totally ruled by money. When a Van Gogh goes for a lot of money at auction, they all stand up and clap. That’s the most horrific thing. It’s really important to put things out into the world that aren’t for commercial profit.” The image has been taken from a painting in the National Gallery, however it was banned by its sponsor Orange, because they believed it would offend young children and grandmothers. “Any subversion of a Christian image does get some people annoyed,” he says. “But that’s the point – so people question it. Of course there’s a critical edge.”
Graphic designer Neville Brody, vowed to revamp the image, following the British government’s vote to bomb Syria in early December, Kennard and Brody, said “I do that a lot with montages,” Kennard explains, “remake them in terms of what’s happening in the world.”
Peace on Earth is “completely disconnected from money”, Kennard told the Guardian, just like Holtom’s original CND symbol, which he purposefully never copyrighted, enabling newer versions like Jullien’s to be produced. But there’s yet another link between the three men: they all studied at the Royal College of Art in London, where Kennard teaches.
“I’ve survived by teaching all my life,” he explains. “But teaching is being cut and cut and cut. Being an artist is a matter of balancing, it’s living on the edge. It’s up to young artists to find new ways to survive – if you want to make work that isn’t just decoration for penthouses, or for the rich to put in their safes.”
Peter Kennard ‘Peace On Earth’ Download Here