Artists' act of remembrance

Wreath of coins

Wreath of coins

First published in News

OVER the last year many artists will have celebrated the centenary of World War One by focusing their creative energies on the war itself.

But a new exhibition due to open in Cumbria will see 12 British artists take a look at how the war has been memorialised since, looking at stories, memories and facts which have been passed down from generation to generation.

The Art of Remembering is set to open at the Rheged Centre on September 20, and run until November 23.

“Today, 100 years on, there are very few people still alive who have their own memories of the First World War,” said exhibition curator, John Stokes.

“The stories, memories and facts have all had to be passed down from generation to generation.

“The Art of Remembering looks at how the stories have endured, and how a modern generation can respond to them – how will we remember it in another 100 years’ time?”

The exhibition has been funded by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

It takes a different approach from much of the coverage and attention that the First World War has received around its centenary and, instead of looking directly at the war itself, The Art of Remembering looks at the way it has been remembered - and the emotional connection many people still feel towards it today.

The artists in the exhibition were selected by a panel including Tom Freshwater, contemporary arts programme manager at the National Trust, Hayley Skipper, the curator for arts development at the Forestry Commission, James Arnold, assistant curator at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry and Lakeland Arts Trust and Mr Stokes.

The artists featured in the exhibition have all conducted their own research into the First World War and they each bring to life a different element of the conflict and how it is remembered.

Hundreds of paper ‘shillings’ form a wreath in one piece, referencing the phrase ‘take the King’s shilling’, a term first used for enlistment and later conscription as the war progressed.

A striking sculpture previously seen at the National Gallery and the Imperial War Museum takes the form of a huge bright red replica of a WW1 biplane that seems to have crashed into the gallery floor.

A display of model ships seem to steam into the gallery, accompanied by mysterious ceramic vessels filled with sea shells, that conjure images of pitched battles on an unforgiving sea.

On a wall, a propaganda limerick that mocked conscientious objectors is recreated in giant letters made from black silk flowers which artist Adam Hogarth hopes will ‘speak of the lasting legacy’ of those who took a stand against the conflict.

Running alongside the exhibition is a programme of talks, films and events surrounding the themes of remembering and World War One.

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