A Year with the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6
2009 was the centenary year of MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS). To mark the occasion they invited James behind their closed doors and into the secret world of espionage. The resulting series of paintings and drawings formed the subject of a selling exhibition ‘A year with MI6’, at Mount Street Galleries, London in 2011. The pictures represented an outsider’s unique interpretation of an existence that, for those who work in SIS, can often be dangerous and surreal.
It is highly unusual for anyone to be publicly associated with MI6, and in this respect an art exhibition about SIS was simply unprecedented. James had to work under strict conditions of secrecy, and was extensively vetted before being selected for the project.
The exhibition attracted international media coverage on radio, TV and in the broadsheets. This included items on the national BBC and ITV news, a documentary by CNN and an interview by Mark Lawson on Front Row, BBC Radio 4.