03 June 2013

London Gatwick has unveiled the latest addition to its British artwork collection in time for the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation.

London Gatwick has unveiled the latest addition to its British artwork collection in time for the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation.

'The People's Monarch', commissioned by BBC South East and created by British artist Helen Marshall, depicts the Queen at the time of her coronation and at her Diamond Jubilee. Viewers of BBC South East Today and listeners of BBC Radio Kent, Sussex and Surrey were asked to send in photographs of themselves, friends and relatives, which were then used to create the unique mosaic to celebrate Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee last year.

The artwork, which is the size of a double-decker bus, has been installed on Pier 2 - one of Gatwick's oldest piers. It is a particularly fitting place to display the piece, as it was opened by Her Majesty in 1958.

Gatwick has been enhancing the experience of arriving passengers following insights gathered through the Airport Passenger Panel last year. The panel, which was made up of experts representing different types of passengers, looked at how UK airports could be improved. A key piece of feedback was that UK airports needed more 'heart and soul', and to give visitors or people returning home after holidays, a real sense of arrival in Britain.  As a result, a 12-piece installation by the 'godfather of British pop art' Sir Peter Blake was installed across both Gatwick terminals last year. Celebrating the city of London, the work depicts the capital through the ages and includes iconic buildings and places.

Willie McGillivray, Product Development Director at London Gatwick, said: “It is a real honour for London Gatwick to have the pleasure of installing this piece of artwork, nearly sixty years to the day since her Majesty’s coronation. It is also really important to us because of its connection to the local area and people. Developing a sense of welcome and British pride at the airport is something passengers have told us they would like to see more of, so we very much hope they enjoy viewing the piece.”

Helen Marshall, ‘The People’s Monarch’ Artist, said: “I am delighted that the final location for the artwork is at London Gatwick. Airports provide a more thrilling location than a gallery or museum and attract a new audience every single day. I think that transportation points are potentially ideal locations for public artwork, because people do not expect to experience this kind of thing when they get off a plane. It is bound to astound them as it is personal and public and this is the best way to experience contemporary art.”

Quentin Smith, Editor for BBC South East, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that ‘The People’s Monarch’ is to be displayed at London Gatwick Airport, where it will be seen by returning holiday makers and overseas visitors to Britain. Our ambition was to create a unique piece of art to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee and involve the BBC South East audience in a participatory role. We are honoured that so many people chose to send in their treasured photographs remembering their loved ones or a memorable event in their lives. Gatwick Airport is an excellent place to showcase this wonderful piece of artwork which holds the memories and emotions of a cross-section of the great British public.”

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