Brian Haw (1949-2011) was one of the most visible, influential, determined and adhesive peace campaigners of our times. In June 2001, he began a peace protest at Parliament Square in Westminster, where he remained for nearly ten years.
Brian Haw maintained a noisy presence at Westminster, camped on the grass directly outside the Houses of Parliament. Initially inspired by the war in Iraq and UK and US foreign policy, his peace campaign became an unavoidable accompaniment for MPs as they made their way to and from their place of work. Brian’s protests were joined by the likes of the Stop the War coalition, whose 2003 march through London against the Iraq war brought two million people to the city’s streets.
In spite of many attempts to curtail and quieten his protest and have him moved and removed, Brian Haw’s personal conviction to raise awareness of human suffering due to war saw him remain at Westminster until just a few months before his death in 2011.
To honour the personal sacrifice of Brian Haw in the name of peace, a group of supporters and friends, including fellow campaigner Michael Culver and actor Mark Rylance, has formed to create a permanent reminder of his work and character.
The 78cm high statue, sculpted by artist Amanda Ward, will sit within an exterior alcove on the School of Historical Dress at 52 Lambeth Road, just outside the exclusion zone created in 2005 in an attempt by authorities to move Brian away from the seat of government.
52 Lambeth Road is address with an absorbing and truly relevant history; originally the Royal South London Medical Dispensary, the building became part of Bethlem psychiatric hospital in 1918, operating the first mental health outpatients’ department in the country, often used for the treatment of First World War soldiers suffering from shellshock. Since 2016, it has been home to the School of Historical Dress.
The new statue is just the latest example of Brian Haw’s influence reaching beyond his patch of central London grass. His actions encouraged many others to camp and protest at Westminster, bringing powerful, argumentative voices to the heart of UK politics and the horrors of war into focus for politicians, citizens and media here and across the world.
Image : Brian Haw statue by Amanda Ward
ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.
ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.
The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.
If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.