An exhibition of paintings at Brighton’s Jubilee Library in 2008
This series of nine works depicting the traditional landscape of poppy fields but with a contemporary edge, 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, the positioning of the art in a public space (Brighton’s Jubilee Library) 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 none of them remain to witness Remembrance Day today.
“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 Remembrance Day and serve as a reminder for avoidance of bloodshed in future.” – Jacqueline Hammond, 2008
The works of art began with a painting created for a web based competition – ‘Seeking Picasso’ in which I 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. I was then commissioned by one of the judges to produce a series of paintings on the same subject for The McNeill Gallery, Radlett, Hertfordshire.
Depicting 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. In ‘A Troubled World’ and ‘Carpet of Red’ 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.
See the full series of artworks on my website.