Remaking Picasso’s Guernica as a protest banner was created between 2012 and 2014. A collective of 12 artists and activists from Brighton, UK developed the project. The individual shapes that form the banner have been sewn in place through a series of 14 public sewings held in England and India. The sewings happened in public spaces, with an open invitation for people to join in, regardless of their level of sewing experience. The banner makers noticed an interesting dialogue develop between the sewer, the stitch and the cloth, through which a temporary placement of fabric became permanent, and individuals’ actions contributed to a collective statement against aerial attacks on civilian populations. To find out more about the activities surrounding the banner see: https://remakingpicassosguernica.wordpress.com
The banner makes connections between historic and current government-led aerial attacks on civilian populations in both its form and use. The banner directly refers to Picasso’s Guernica and the aerial bombardment of the Basque town Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. It does so in name, through its title and through the visible use of key symbols from the original painting. On the body of the horse in the banner, small human stick figures are drawn. These symbolize the uncounted and unnamed people killed in recent drone attacks taking place around the world. For further information see Amnesty International’s report on US drone strikes in Pakistan: http://www.amnestyusa.org/research/reports/will-i-be-next-us-drone-strikes-in-pakistan
The banner functions as both a work of art and an act of protest. It has been designed with the explicit intention of being carried by a group of people on protest marches. It is 1.45 metres high by 4.15 metres long; to carry it, the design necessitates people to stand side by side, walking along together.