Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Hazel T.J. Ottley

Wes E. Brown, Shopbreaking and Theft

colour inkjet prints, pencil and crayon on paper, 2014, 28.25"w x 20.5"h

Commemorative objects create a romanticized narrative of history, often celebrating society’s former glories, while omitting people and moments that carry an ugly past. In my series Porcelain Prison, I have created commemorative criminal plates to reinsert our unattractive past into our historical narrative. Each plate memorializes an unknown, early 20th-century criminal using traditional design conventions of European royal commemorative plates of the same era. Porcelain Prison replaces cameo portraits of royalty with criminal mug shots, coats of arms with instruments of crime and laurels of flowers with laurels of weeds. The plates are designed to convey the crime each felon has committed. By inserting criminal subjects into the royal commemorative plate framework, I hope to elevate my subjects as people worthy of remembrance in a way that is familiar to the viewer.

Hazel T.J. Ottley - Wes E. Brown, Shopbreaking and Theft

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