Archie Franks: Echoes of Englishness

21 November 2022 - 15 January 2023
The political and cultural positions of our age appear to emerge from a collective understanding or rather misunderstanding of England - of what it was and what it ought to be...

Ghosts are powerful. Our memories, both personal and universal, shape our culture and our perception of it. The political and cultural positions of our age appear to emerge from a collective understanding or rather misunderstanding of England - of what it was and what it ought to be, by both people on the left and on the right of the political spectrum. 

 

With the Danny Boyle Olympic ceremony in 2012 bandying about icons of the UK or England to feel good about ourselves; Elgar, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, the Queen and Paddington bear, all exist as a kind of English lexicon to provide comfort and security in our national identity. Since Brexit, figures and icons symbolising England have become more divisive, locked within a cultural war. 

 

These paintings are about a sense of what it feels like to embody Englishness collectively, as well as about personal memories and obsessions of my own. Ultimately, we are conditioned by echoes of Englishness, whether we like it or not.

 
 ~ Archie Franks