Queen Elizabeth II portrait by robot Ai-Da unveiled for platinum jubilee

Ai-Da's eyes are cameras, while her clothes conceal a computer, modem and electrical motor

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A portrait of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II painted by Ai-Da — an artificial intelligence robot artist — has been unveiled before the platinum jubilee.

Titled Algorithm Queen, the painting features the queen dressed in blue with a feather in her hat and wearing a pearl necklace.

The ultra-realistic humanoid robot artist — named after 19th-century mathematician and scientist Ada Lovelace — was built in 2019 and creates drawings, paintings and sculptures.

The artistic process was designed to reflect the different aspects of technological change that have taken place during the Queen’s 70-year reign.

Speaking to The National in April, its creator Aidan Meller, a gallerist and academic, described Ai-Da as an artist in her own right, able to express creativity through drawings, poetry, paintings and sculpture much as a human artist would. No two works of hers are the same.

Ai-Da at the Venice Art Biennale. EPA

To start, Ai-Da uses cameras in its eyes and its memory, before using a variety of algorithms to paint, draw and abstract images.

A robotic arm lets it turn its digital formations into physical drawings and paintings.

Algorithm Queen was layered and scaled to produce the final multi-dimensional portrait of the monarch.

Ai-Da is also able to converse using a specially designed language model.

It said: “I’d like to thank Her Majesty the Queen for her dedication, and for the service she gives to so many people.

“She is an outstanding, courageous woman who is utterly committed to public service.

“I think she’s an amazing human being, and I wish the queen a very happy platinum jubilee.”

A series of events are planned in the UK for the weekend of the jubilee, including street parties, pageants and a star-studded concert.

“We are in unprecedented technological times, and so we are pleased we can take a moment to think about all that has changed during the queen’s life." said creator Aidan Meller. AFP

The queen, who has struggled with her health and mobility in recent months, was seen earlier this week using an electric buggy to visit Chelsea Flower Show. She missed the State Opening of Parliament and will not attend Trooping the Colour during the jubilee celebrations.

Ai-Da was devised in Oxford by Mr Meller, a specialist in modern and contemporary art, before being built in Cornwall by humanoid entertainment robot company Engineered Arts and programmed internationally.

The robot’s capabilities were developed by PhD students and professors at the universities of Oxford and Birmingham.

Mr Meller said: “We are in unprecedented technological times, and so we are pleased we can take a moment to think about all that has changed during the queen’s life.

Algorithm Queen by Ai-Da robot gives us a marker of how far things have come in her life, and a great way to acknowledge her faithful service.”

The artwork will be exhibited publicly in London later this year and revealed on the Ai-Da robot artist website on Friday.

The queen has posed for more than 200 portraits since the age of seven. Most were painted in a traditional style.

But Lucien Freud's in 2001 proved controversial: one critic said it made her look like one of her corgi dogs.

The queen in art

Meanwhile, portrayals of the queen by up to 52 established and emerging international artists will make up a celebratory exhibition to mark the platinum jubilee will take place at gallery@oxo on London’s South Bank next month.

Images of works from Art Save the Queen will be displayed on prominent London Underground poster sites at Victoria station before and during the exhibition. Selected pieces will be made into NFTs, with a scheduled drop date of June 2.

Organiser Dylan Roberts said the queen is “a true icon and an inspiration to people everywhere” and he has been overwhelmed by the work the artistic community is submitting.

Britain is marking the queen's diamond jubilee with four-day bank holiday weekend, from Thursday, June 2 to Sunday, June 6.

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Updated: May 27, 2022, 12:29 PM
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