70th Anniversary Commissions

In 2016, the Arts Council Collection celebrated its 70th Anniversary. To mark the occasion ACC commissioned a series of ambitious new works by British artists: John Akomfrah; Hurvin Anderson; Ryan Gander; Marvin Gaye Chetwynd; Mark Leckey; Katie Paterson; Heather Phillipson; and Keith Piper.

John Akomfrah, Tropikos

An experimental costume drama set in the 16th century, the film focuses on the waterways of South West England and their relationship to the slave trade.
Hurvin Anderson, Is it ok to be black?

The title of the work poses a clear question, interrogating the viewer, who can no longer remain a passive voyeur, and implicating them in the complexity of race relations, cultural history and notions of ‘otherness’.
Ryan Gander, As old as time itself slept alone

Gander's commission is part of a series of sculptures modelled on Edgar Degas’ ballerinas. Gander uses the language of figurative sculpture to create a contemporary conceptual artwork.
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Here She Comes

Here She Comes relates to women’s history and literature. Chetwynd mixes the reading of texts such as Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing, and told through puppetry and mime.
Mark Leckey, feelinthecat

This immersive installation consists of a large dome, shaped to resemble Felix’s head. Inside the dome, two screens play a film which shows Mark Leckey transforming into Felix.
Katie Paterson, Totality

Over 10,000 images reflect the progression of a solar eclipse across the room – from partial to total – mirroring the sequence of the Sun eclipsed by the Moon in a glistening mirror ball.
Heather Phillipson, True to Size

Phillipson mixes images, noises, objects, languages and bodies. Her immersive works are full of cultural references and emotional responses, suggesting her close dialogue with the materials she uses.
Keith Piper, Unearthing the Banker's Bones

Piper’s works examine the history and culture of black identity in the UK and beyond. This commission addresses notions of apocalypse, science fiction and the future.



The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.