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Simon Schama selects Government Art Collection

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Next stage of exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery opens.

The third display of the Government Art Collection has opened today showcasing works selected by historian and broadcaster Simon Schama.

It explores ideas of travel through the works of British artists from the 16th century to the present day and includes pieces such as a portrait of the poet Lord Byron by Thomas Philips and Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle.

The display, named Travelling Light, also includes works by Grayson Perry, Richard Long and Cornelia Parker.

 Travelling Light

“Travelling Light is what British artists have sought and - sometimes - how they’ve found it,” Mr Schama said. “Known for our contrasting characters, we often look inwards to the insular pastoral before breaking loose offshore towards bluer horizons and palmier strands, only to then better understand what it is to be at home.

“Travelling Light is all about setting off, trying to picture something, never quite catching it but in the process, doing something beautiful.”

Government Art Collection displays

Travelling Light is the third in a series of five displays of works from the Government Art Collection (GAC) being held at the Whitechapel Gallery in East London and will be on display until 26 February 2012. It follows a selection by Cornelia Parker and the opening display, Government Art Collection: at work.

The GAC comprises more than 13,500 paintings, sculptures and work in other media dating from the 16th century to the present day. On display in more than 400 embassies and government buildings in the UK and around the world, their purpose is to promote British art and artists. The current series of displays are the first time the GAC has been exhibited in a public art gallery.

Further information

Homepage wide image by UKinUSA on Flickr. Some rights reserved. Homepage thumbnail image (C) Government Art Collection.