An exhibition of exquisite paintings depicting traditional landscape of poppy fields but with a contemporary edge will emblazon the windows of Brighton’s Jubilee Library. The series of nine works by local artist Jacqueline Hammond combine the beauty of flowers with the symbolic role of the Poppy in association with war throughout history. As well as being a topical subject – with Remembrance Day around the corner – the positioning of the art in a public space rather than the confines of a hidden gallery seeks to include and draw in a wider audience to raise collective awareness and provoke thought.
For 70 years the men who fought in the First World War were largely forgotten. It was not their heroism that became the predominant memory of that war, but the waste of so many lives. Of the millions of British servicemen who fought in the first world war, only a handful remain to witness this year’s remembrance day. The intention is to invite one such veteran to sign a painting and the work will be auctioned for charity and 20% of all sales from the exhibition will go to the Poppy Appeal. The exhibition is open to proposals to be shown in other possible venues / events.
Jacqueline Hammond, artist, says: “Will future generations commemorate let alone stop for a minute’s silence when these heroes are all gone? Our world is still ridden with war and suffering despite our historical consciousness supposedly moving forward. A core aim of the exhibition is to highlight the forthcoming Remembrance Day and serve as a reminder for avoidance of bloodshed in future. When poppies sprung from the blood drenched battlefields they signified life not death.”
The nine works of art by Jacqueline Hammond entitled, The Significance of the Poppy’ began with a painting created for a web based competition – ‘Seeking Picasso’ in which she was a finalist. The theme was ‘A Troubled World’ and so the painting was inspired by the situation in Afghanistan and the general metaphor of the poppy in relation to previous wars. She was then commissioned by one of the judges to produce a series of paintings on the same subject for The McNeill Gallery, Radlett, Hertfordshire, who continue to represent her work.
The works finely depict the poppy as a metaphor. Some represent the emblem of poppy worn for Remembrance Day: another life, another loss. Others depict farmed opium poppies; their beauty offset by the reason for their existence, representing current causes of conflict, the suggestion of war is confirmed in the distance, where the rolling green hills when viewed more closely have a river of blood running between them, flowing down from the bloodshed in the barren, sandy, habituated hills. Just proves that beauty can be deceiving. A field of flowers can be more than a pretty picture.