The Tate Foundation has announced that it has commissioned an artist to modify a racist mural, a painting by Rex Whistler, at the Tate Britain.
The painting by Rex Whistler, titled ‘The Expedition in Pursuit of Rare Meats” was first commissioned by Tate in the 1920s. The 55-foot long mural depicts a hunting party, chasing after exotic animals, presumably for their meat. However, a controversy first arose in 2020 regarding certain sections of the mural, particularly one which depicts Black slave children chained to a cart. The cart also features an aristocratic white woman on it. Many have suggested that other mural blatantly dehumanizes Black people and promote white superiority.
Since the controversy began, there were calls to remove or destroy the mural. However, British heritage laws protected the mural from any damage or alteration. The mural was also kept off view during the pandemic as the Museum was closed. A museum committee met in 2020 to discuss the fate of the mural, but couldn’t reach a conclusion.
Now, Tate has announced that it will commission an artist to create an installation in the same room of the restaurant as the mural. In a statement, Tate said: “Tate is responsible for the mural as a work of art, so the new approach needed to create an appropriate and inclusive context for it to be viewed and allow this context to evolve over time as needed.”
However, the statement suggests that the mural will remain on display without any change, and the artist will make a parallel installation in response.