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Christmas Countdown Clock: Star Collection Item

Welcome to the Nottingham Castle Christmas Countdown, where each night, we’ll be sharing an item from the world-class collections in the Castle’s Galleries in the lead up to Christmas. This item is a firm favourite amongst Castle staff – read on to find out why.

Make Tofu Not War, 2018 by Goshka Macuga (born 1967)

largescale tapestry showing people in bear and dear costumes surrounded by protest placards
Make Tofu Not War, 2018 by Goshka Macuga (born 1967). Photo by Angus Mill. Original image source:


This large 3D photographic tapestry features an imaginary scene in an old forest, where a group of people dressed as animals appear to have gathered together after taking part in a protest. Their banners quote from George Orwell’s famous book Animal Farm, as well as referring to democracy and climate change.

Make Tofu Not War is rich in associations and references. The 3D effect and the ghostly forms of a cosmonaut and space capsule in the background hark back to the 1950s ‘sci-fi’ idea of a future in which we would all be flying to the moon and wearing 3D spectacles. The costumed creatures are part of a long tradition of animals representing or symbolising human characteristics. For example, 19th century cartoons published in magazine editorials often depicted animals as political symbols to influence voters by distilling complex ideas into humorous illustrations.

The layering of narratives and historical references is a feature of Goshka Macuga’s work, which explores the relationship between art, power, politics and history – often with wry humour. Make Tofu Not War seems at home at Nottingham Castle, a site with its own rich, rebellious and politically-charged history. Once surrounded by hunting forest, its walls were previously adorned with tapestries.

Tapestry acquired with the support of Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, Art Fund and the Contemporary Art Society. NCMG 2020-25.

Find out more about this powerful artwork here.

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