Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Twll Tin i'r Cwin

To mark Elizabeth Windsor’s diamond jubilee the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, is hosting an exhibition which features sixty “striking and resonant images” of the anglo-german monarch. Should one go inside? was the ideological quandary I found myself in as I stood on the museum steps this afternoon. Casting aside my natural republican instincts and class hatreds I decided to investigate. What I found was quite a diverse selection of artworks. Amongst the genuflecting snappers (Beaton, Lichfield, Snowdon) and suck-up artists (whose names escape me) there are some genuinely interesting pieces. There’s a rare chance for us Welshies to see images by Andy Warhol and Gilbert & George, for instance. And I liked Korean artist Kim Dong-Yoo’s provocative, Elizabeth v Diana, which is a portrait of Queenie made up of 1,106 smaller pictures of Princess Diana. Also on view is an original of Jamie Reid’s punk God Save the Queen poster from 1977. The most subversive piece in the collection, though, is, I’m pleased to say, Welsh. It’s a tee-shirt which shows an upside down postage stamp of the Queen, emblazoned with a postmark which bears the legend TWLL TIN I’R CWIN (see pic). This is Welsh for UP YOURS QUEEN. The garment was printed in 1996 in Aberystwyth as a protest against a royal visit. I left the exhibition with one burning question: where can I get my hands on one of those tee-shirts?