It has been 20 years since the fatal accident that killed Princess Diana in Paris. It is one of those moments in life that you always remember where you were. I was in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, coming back from a fancy-dress party in a gay bar. I was in drag! I had a strapless black polka dot dress on. I sure looked good then. The lesbians were all over me that night. My bum was sore from so much pinching. This was the only time I was out in drag. Despite not having a single alcoholic drink, the party was great fun. Sober, I was chosen to drive the car home. We all knew that I was not a qualified driver. I only had a learning permit (I still do not have a driving licence to this day). I became very concerned somehow. What if the police stopped us, a car driven by a man in drag without a proper permit? I turned on the radio to relax. The breaking news came as a shock: Princess Diana was involved in a car crash in Paris! Could that be true? My sweaty hands could hardly grasp the steering wheel, but I drove on. Once at home, I turned on the telly quickly to find out what had happened to our dear princess. The night progressed and I slept on the sofa still wearing that beautiful dress. At dawn, I understood the tragedy of that night. Driving in drag was fixed in my memory and an intense feeling of loss. Years later, I decided to make a small artwork to commemorate that fateful night. I called it Shattered Dreams. It is a pop mosaic work dedicated to Diana’s life. However, people usually interpret it as a comment on her death. In Shattered Dreams, I placed her in the driving position [UK], in control of her destiny. However, the events of that night would put an end to her role and my drag dreams. Glitz and glamour were over!
Shattered Dreams was made of souvenir crockery, expandable foam and cement adhesive. The size of the work is 15 x 16 x 32 cm. I chose to use the shape of Volkswagen Beetle because it was the first truly popular car produced in Brazil (where I was born) and the first car I ever drove. It is also German in origin, like the current British Royal family (The House of Windsor replacing the name of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1917 due to anti-German sentiments in the British Empire). The shape of the Beetle also reminded me of fairy-tale carriages. Shattered Dreams was first exhibited in Glasgow at the 143rd Annual Exhibition of the Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts (2004) and went on to be shown at the Museu do Jardim Botânico in Curitiba, Brazil (2005) as well as in the exhibition of the VI Prix Picassiette in Chartres, France (2006). It is now stored in a dusty box in a depot. I wish I could show it again in a very special venue, hopefully, in an event dedicated to Princess Diana.
Princess Diana | Death of Diana | Paris | Bournemouth | Drag | Gay | Lesbian | Gay Bar | Polka dot | Driving License | Volkswagen Beetle | Breaking news | RGi | House of Windsor | Saxe-Coburg-Gotha