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Swizzle's Golden Jubilee Window

June 4 - June 14, 2002
1162 College St (at Dufferin), Toronto, Canada

In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen's 50 years as Queen of Canada, Swizzle Gallery has created a front window tribute. Well-wishers are invited to drop by the front window display day or night and toast Elizabeth II, be it with tea or Gordon's Gin.

The window, designed by Swizzle curator Rob Elliott, is composed of four main elements. A spotlit Union Jack flag acts as backdrop (incidentally, the flag is the only non-Portuguese flag in Swizzle's World Cup-crazed neighbourhood). Red, white and blue streamers festoon the window edges, a reference to the frugal, somewhat tatty, decorations one would have found in 1952's England. A portrait of the young Queen by Elliott hangs in front of the flag. A line of text has been placed on the window directly below this portrait, reading "We mean it, man!". These words, from punk band the Sex Pistols' infamous "God Save the Queen", act as a reminder of both the stratified system the Queen represents, and of her continuing role as pop culture icon.

Artist's Statement:

The Queen is one of the last 20th century icons, and a robust one at that. If you went to school in Canada in the 1970s, you sang 'God Save the Queen", you had a portrait of the Queen in your classroom, you received a terrible cheap aluminum coin for her Silver Jubilee. She's always been there, standing guard over such things as good grammar, self-discipline, and nice hats.

Sure, one could have designed a window that was critical of her wealth, critical of her position, critical of her idiot children. But I feel she's been in the background of my life so long, she gets a pardon. It's like listening to Frank Sinatra albums, you don't have to think about his bullying to enjoy The Voice. The same goes for Queen Elizabeth. She's so iconically pleasing, she can do as she pleases. When I say "Happy Jubilee", I mean it, man.