Long Reign the “Little Queen”!
By Colette Gehr
The Queen Mum and her model twin have made an unexpected stop at the Holland Area Arts Council (HAAC) in Downtown Holland.
Encouraged by the visitor comments, “royally superb” and “grand job,” I wanted to see just what was so special about the photography exhibit and was not disappointed.
Initially puzzled by the artist’s motivation behind such an unusual idea, after exploring the eccentric images, this reviewer lost the questioning and instead, was filled with joy and whimsy.
Hanging in a grid pattern against brick walls, the photos not only offer personal glimpses into the 62 years Queen Elizabeth II has reigned, but also a sense of humor and fond sentiment. The contrast between the background of royal formality fronted by a bubblegum pink “Queen” statue, frozen simply with a smile and a wave, is charming.
Grouped by themes that include “Photo Ops,” and “The Next Generation,” I found myself having several laugh-out-loud moments on the life and times of one Queen Mum. In addition, following a visual history from coronation to old age is captivating, especially when viewing her relationships both with the public, as well as family members.
The unlikely duo, one real – one man-made, is paired in creative situations. At times, they are viewing each other with curiosity, and others, the “Little Queen” is simply there to support her human counterpart. Though a challenge, this reviewers’ personal favorite would be the one of the figurine posing for a portrait, as a real painting of the Queen sits on the easel.
While the artist, Donald Steele, was born and bred in the United States, his fascination with the royal icon led to this innovative, one-of-a-kind exhibit. After viewing, I now see why it has been also displayed in New York City and Paris.
Currently showing through July 2 in the Armstrong Gallery at the HAAC in Holland, Michigan, “The Queen & I,” photographs by Donald Steele is worth a visit or two, as each one brings new discoveries within the photos.
For more information, contact the HAAC at (616) 396-3278 or online at hollandarts.org.
The Holland Area Arts Council
150 East 8th Street
Holland, Michigan 49423