Taxpayer-funded artwork costing £19,500 has gone on display in the UK Parliament.
The brightly coloured structure, which represents the 2019 general election, is located in Portcullis House.
The work was created by Nicky Hurst, who was selected to be Parliament’s official election artist for 2019.
An election artist has been commissioned by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art for each general election since 2001, with the resulting artwork being acquired for the Parliamentary Art Collection.
The artwork is the first mobile to enter the Parliamentary Art Collection, and is titled, ‘There Was A Time 2019-20’.
It is the result of the artist’s travels throughout the election, as she followed the campaign trail and attended related events such as hustings and manifesto launches.
The mobile’s moving form is said to represent the ‘carousel’ of stories and individuals present in the election – echoing the fairground carousels present across the country.
The abstracted shapes are meant to signify political characters from all the relevant parties, as well as members of the electorate.
With 64 figures in total, all the shapes are different – transparent, opaque and reflective – with a colour palette that references the branding of the political parties.
The artwork was approved for entry into Parliament’s collection by the Speaker’s Advisory Committee on Works of Art earlier this year, after progress was temporarily paused due to the pandemic.
The House of Commons said the project was funded by the committee’s budget.
The commission was for £17,000, and election artists can also claim expenses for travel, subsistence and accommodation, which amounted to an additional £2545.
Conservative MP Dean Russell, who chairs the committee, said the piece continues the tradition of commissioning works of art “for future generations to be informed and inspired by”.
He said: “The first December election in nearly 100 years, the 2019 election also produced the most diverse return of MPs in history.
“Nicky’s work reflects on this, using movement and colour to represent the diversity of voices and cyclical nature of the election process.”
Hirst, who was born in Nottingham and grew up in Leeds, said she wanted the piece “to not only reflect our democratic process but also the diversity and myriad of opinion I saw and heard within the electorate”.
She said: “The general election campaign of 2019 unusually took place in the cold and wet months of November and December.
“As I travelled around the country, almost every town and city I visited had its own Christmas market, with a Ferris wheel or carousel.
“These rides, combined with huge station and town hall clocks, focused the mind on concepts around time and movement – specifically the cycle of the electoral campaigns I was following.”