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Speaker of the House of Commons unveils new artwork made by the public at Parliament

THE Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow, has unveiled a new Parliamentary artwork in Portcullis House – made by 376 members of the public and award-winning artist Rachel Gadsden.

A result of the Big Draw at the Houses of Parliament, the four new works are a modern interpretation of existing mosaics of the four patron saints of the UK in Parliament’s Central Lobby. With each saint representing each country in the UK, St George (England), St David (Wales), St Andrew (Scotland) and St Patrick (N. Ireland).

Mr Speaker described the work as ‘delightful’ saying: “Parliament was extremely pleased to be part of this year’s Big Draw and to be able to support the Campaign for Drawing and the first ever Family Arts Festival. We were encouraged that so many families from all over the UK took part and that the end result, created by Rachel Gadsden, was able to incorporate so many of their fantastic drawings”.

The nationwide Big Draw and Family Arts Festival ran in October last year. The public were able to make their own artwork based on the saints after taking a tour of Parliament and viewing the mosaics. They worked with Rachel, who made copies of their work to inspire and include in the new montaged work that now hangs in Portcullis House.

Rachel Gadsden, who was awarded the 2013 National Diversity Award for “Positive Role Model for Disability”, described working on the project as: “The most wonderful opportunity to engage creatively with members of the public, families and young people on an artistic commission that has been created in collaboration. Westminster Hall at Parliament is such an atmospheric important building, and the energy and excitement that emanated during “The Big Draw” events is clearly now so evident in the final beautiful paintings.”

The private unveiling was attended by the artist Rachel Gadsden, Sue Grayson Ford from the Campaign for Drawing and a group of families who took part in the project. It is planned that the paintings will hang in Portcullis House until the end of February, before being move to the House of Lords where they will be displayed in Millbank House.

The project was funded by The Speaker’s Art Fund.