Westminster unveils contemporary artworks

Two new contemporary artworks will be on view to visitors this summer in the medieval Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament.

New Dawn is a six-metre high light sculpture by artist Mary Branson. An addition to the Parliamentary Art Collection, it is the first piece of abstract art commissioned for permanent display in the Palace of Westminster.

Revealed today (June 8) – 150 years to the day since the campaign for women’s votes began – the artwork in Westminster Hall celebrates the individuals involved.

It is located above the entrance to St Stephen’s Hall, the site of many suffrage demonstrations as well as the route used for women coming to deliver petitions and lobby MPs.

From June 29 to September 1, visitors will also be able to see The Ethics of Dust, a temporary art installation created by artist, architect and conservationist Jorge Otero-Pailos.

The artwork is a 50-metre long translucent latex cast of Westminster Hall’s east wall and contains hundreds of years of surface pollution and dust, lifted from the wall during the sensitive cleaning process.

Visitors can walk along both sides of the installation and examine the fascinating layers of Parliament’s history embedded in the latex cast. 

Entry to see New Dawn from June 8 and The Ethics of Dust from June 29 is free but tickets should be booked in advance.

Visitors will be able to see both artworks on one of the Parliament tours which include the House of Commons, House of Lords and Westminster Hall.


Picture of New Dawn by Mary Branson: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor