Sometimes I work for an antique restoration company painting trompe l’oeil panels onto Georgian furniture. Recently I did an etruscan themed piece on an Adam’s style table. This job came in just before I started this course and it got me thinking about refugees and migration into Europe via Greece, politics in the middle east and so on…….. Was there a way to recombine the antique with a contemporary theme? As a result of giving them a good deal on the last painting job I got Ross’s mirror gilded for him and also was given a reproduction Adam’s style demi lune table to use for my nefarious contemporary art purposes. Result! I could now see if I could make a piece that could have resonance in a contemporary world. It was one of those projects which never really clicked for some reason. I researched it, drew it, did everything I could to get the neurons flying but it just didn’t spark up for me at all. Then, as I was wrestling with the beast, Donald Trump retweeted the Britain First video (the day after the Arab nations stood against extremism incidentally) and The Queen and Theresa May were put in a really difficult position.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it and decided to make the table about this very thing. Why was the Trump administration so equally repulsive and compelling in equal measure? It was blatantly destroying any dignified diplomatic conventions. It displayed a total lack of respect and possibly has no awareness or care for the cultures of its so called allies. I felt that should all the rumours be correct about Putin trying to undermine democracy through supporting this man into power then British multi-culturalism was under attack. How could I express this in a way that rooted the argument in the present? …. Like this….

This is Melania Trump the first lady of the United States of America, modelling before she took office. I felt that as she is now representing the ideal of American values and beauty she would be an enduring symbol of the administration and their legacy would be desirable throughout the world, as was the Adam’s brothers furniture and interior design in the 1700’s (another pivotal time in Anglo-American politics) . The base of the table is an exact copy of an Adam’s table. Both the top and the base are distressed to look aged. The piece has fascination for people for varying reasons! It was shown as part of the GLUE exhibition. It might suit being in a larger scale installation amongst somewhere like the Norfolk House room at the V&A. I’d have a job to smuggle it in there………

Kate Mieczkowska