Posted on 2nd July 2019
Haywain with Cruise Missiles, inserts three nuclear warheads into John Constable’s famous water colour painting of the idyllic East Anglian countryside.
Constable painted the original in 1821 and it was reworked in 1980 by political artist Peter Kennard for two main reasons. Firstly, as a response to the proposal to home US nuclear cruise missiles in rural East Anglia and secondly to challenge a Ministry of Defence leaflet that portrayed nuclear missiles in delicate watercolours.
Peter Kennard, born 1949, is a London born and based photomontage artist. Seeking to reflect his involvement in the anti-Vietnam War movement, he turned from painting to photomontage. He is best known for the images he created for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1970s–80s.
CND was formed in February 1958 in response to the detonation of Britain’s first hydrogen bomb and the Government’s agreement to house American nuclear weapons on British soil. Throughout the 1970s and 80s Peter Kennard’s hugely powerful photomontages ensured that the movement, and the striking imagery that came to represent it, were etched onto the public consciousness.
Kennard has gone on to become one of Britain’s leading political artists, creating work which has come to help define modern protest.
Because many of the left-wing organisations and publications he used to work with have disappeared, Kennard has turned to using exhibitions, books and the internet for his work.
Most recently, Haywain with Cruise Missiles was part of a 2018 exhibition in Sheffield called Art Against War to mark the 60th anniversary of CND.