I am very excited to announce that I have been commissioned by Queensgate Shopping Centre Peterborough to create a major new art installation to commemorate the centenary of The Battle of The Somme in 1916. This installation will be in place from the 6th July until 13th November 2016 in North Square Queensgate Shopping Centre.
I have been creating a series of work commemorating significant people,places and events from World War I otherwise known The Great War since the centenaries began. This work has included paintings, sketches, film and THE BLANKET OF POPPIES- with more information on this previous work in my blogs and on the WWI pages on the home page of my website.
THE SKY OF POPPIES came from several main threads of inspiration and new inspiration will continue to drive the process of creation over the following weeks:
The poppy has always been one of my top favourite flowers if not my actual favourite. The first present my husband gave me was a pressed poppy from The Somme shortly after we met during a historical re-enactment event. He was the chairman of The Great War Society at the time whilst I was a member of The Sealed Knot -an english civil war group. Despite his extensive knowledge and interest in the Great War period I was not interested in any way except when he told stories of the men themselves. The technical stuff never interested me and I think he got that message early on when in Gallipoli his friends and Tom were looking for the entrance to Y beach for many hours whilst I was bird watching-I was a professional wildlife conservationist at the time having only come to art about 6 years ago. Tom also gave me the gorgeous dog you can see below and there are no prizes for guessing her name.
The incredible installation of poppies at London Tower by artist Paul Cummins also had a profound affect as I stood there gazing at this mass of poppy red next to the starkness of the tower walls.People were talking gently to strangers helping others in wheelchairs to a place where they could see. I will with the very kind permission of Paul Cummins be using 3 of the original poppies in the installation.
In 2014 there was huge area of poppies planted near to Wittering Air Base which I absolutely loved. When I stood looking at these poppies I remember thinking what would happen if you turn them upside down so you could look up into the beauty of the flower.I was stood at this point on a track below the field looking up at the poppies.
Poppies are of course the iconic flower of remembrance that we all know so well. Last summer I painted on the place where John McCrae a Canadian doctor wrote the poem IN FLANDERS FIELDS and ultimately began the process of the adoption of the poppy as the symbol of remembrance. There was no other flower that could be considered for this installation although if you look carefully there is one cornflower which is the flower of remembrance used by France.
The Somme in 1916 ended with over a million casualties and its first day was the bloodiest day ever in British military history. As a WWI commemoration artist The Somme is a major event that needed to be marked in some way and I thank Queensagte Shopping Centre management team in particular Mark Broadhead and Lara Sayer for their foresight,enthusiasm and for putting their heads above the parapet in commissioning me to work on this installation.
Workshops for the public will be held in Unit 18 Westgate Arcade Queensgate Shopping Centre Peterborough on the following dates:
Sunday 17th April-11am, midday, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm
Friday 22nd April 10am, 11am, midday, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.
27th April 10, 11,midday ,1 ,2 and 3pm
Friday 6th May 11am, midday, 1pm,2pm and 3pm
Tuesday 17th May 11, midday, 1pm, 2 pm and 3pm
Monday Bank Holiday 30th May 11,midday,1pm,2pm and 3pm
Email to book but just turn up places available. More dates to follow.
More information is available on my blog www.charronpugsleyhill.com or contact me at happy firstname.lastname@example.org.