Dominic from Luton (Dominic Allan) has Call Mum written on his left hand every day in black biro. He describes it as ‘an advert of love in the monotony of our daily lives.’ For Cardiff Contemporary, Dominic from Luton would like to share this simple yet universal statement with the citizens and visitors to Cardiff.
On Friday October 3 at 5pm, a specially-commissioned flag bearing the statement ‘Call Mum’ will be hoisted from the corner battlement of Cardiff Castle. Down below on Queen Street by the Nye Bevan statue, three trumpeters will herald the raising of the flag by blasting out Tina Turner’s ‘Simply the Best.’ The flag, made by Swansea’s MrFlag, will fly throughout the festival until 9th November.
Better-known as Dominic from Luton, Allan is one of Britain’s most exciting artists. He is famous for such work as Margaret Thatcher, which saw him dressing up as the Iron Lady and wheeling himself around in a wheelchair, and My Dad’s Pants, a photograph of his dad Jim’s baggy Y-fronts drying on a radiator. Both these works were shown amongst other acquisitions in New Order: British Art Today in 2013 at the Saatchi Gallery. Now Dominic from Luton is turning his attention to his 71-year-old mum Kay, who was a member of the Sixties British girl group The Mysteries, who were on Decca Records alongside The Vernon Girls, Lulu and Marianne Faithfull.
Dominic explains Call Mum: ‘I ring my mum twice a week, but I always have to write a note to remind myself. This work has started out personal but it is not particular to my mum, it is universal. Hopefully it will trigger positive responses and create conversations among people as they consider what it means to them. If the flag reminds someone to pick up the phone and call their mum, we may never know the response, but I’m intrigued to find out where it can go.’
However Mum Kay, whose dad was born in Merthyr Tydfil and worked in the mines until the family moved to London, was baffled why Dominic needed a reminder. ‘He is usually excellent at calling home. He’s a very thoughtful son, so I don’t know why he has ‘Call Mum’ written on his hand. But when it comes to Dominic and his art, nothing is sacred in our house.’
Ruth Cayford, the City of Cardiff Council Visual Arts Manager and Cardiff Contemporary project leader, said: ‘We are excited to be working with Dominic from Luton and Locws International on this project. We hope the flag will start conversations among people who see it and share personal stories. At first they might ask ‘Whose Mum?’ which hopefully will lead to them thinking about their own Mam or Mum and why they can or can’t call her.’
Gordon Dalton, Project Manager, Locws International said ‘We are very pleased to have commissioned Dominic from Luton for Cardiff Contemporary. Having commissioned over 100 artists in our home town, we wanted our first commission outside Swansea to be on a high profile site and seen by as many people as possible. Dominic is one of the most interesting, generous artists in the UK and his work on Cardiff Castle has that big, universal impact. It will be supported by a dedicated Twitter campaign @Call_Mum along with Locws volunteers handing out badges and stickers in the city.’
Cardiff Contemporary runs from 3rd October to 9th November 2014