Art808 chooses Blueprint for All as a beneficiary of Ben Turnbull’s iconic print of Martin Luther King

Key details

Date: 14th Jan 2022

Author: Blueprint for All

Type: News

A portrait of Martin Luther King featuring cut out speech bubbles from 1960s American comic books is set to raise thousands of pounds for a string of good causes, in celebration of the birthday of the great civil rights leader on January 15 with MLK day not far around the corner. 

We are delighted that Art808 has chosen Blueprint for All as a beneficiary of Ben Turnbull’s iconic print of Martin Luther King. Entitled I Have a Dream, the collage on wood portrait was created as a tribute to the achievements of King by London-based contemporary pop artist Ben Turnbull, who is best known for his politically-charged, Americana-inspired pieces whose themes have ranged from the prevalence of guns in US society, to the heroes of 9/11.

“Much of my work is quite tricky for the viewer, but this was something with an entirely heroic theme,” Turnbull explained. “Every comic I used was over 50 years old and because I take an almost journalistic approach to my work – which meant I began by researching King’s speeches – it is more than just a straightforward portrait; you have to look deeper to find out what’s underneath.”

Keen to honour King’s legacy, Turnbull, who has previously donated part of the proceeds from a book accompanying a retrospective exhibition held at the Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Art to the families of the firefighters lost in the 9/11 attacks, teamed up with publisher and gallerist Jon Lewis of Bristol-based Art808. “The idea was to produce a very low run of limited edition fine art prints, five of which will be donated to good causes including the King Centre, in Atlanta, Georgia,” Mr Lewis explained. Collectors will be able to buy one of 10,000 Non-fungible token (NFT) digital versions of I Have a Dream, with a share of the profits divided between the five good causes. Those signing up for the NFT offering will be also entered into a prize draw to win a print of the artwork worth more than £2,000. Mr Lewis, who has worked with Turnbull for more than 20 years, said the portrait, which has never before been publicly exhibited, was a “stunning example” of the artist’s work.

 

The positivity of this work speaks for itself, and so much of my art over the years has tackled such difficult and divisive moments in history, that this piece stands out and shines a light on unity, hope and truth

Ben Turnbull