23 August – 19 November 2017
CWGC PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL TO HOST ICONIC POPPY SCULPTURE
First World War Centenary cultural programme 14-18 NOW has announced that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Plymouth Naval Memorial will host the iconic Poppy Wave Sculpture in 2017.
Wave will open at the CWGC Plymouth Naval Memorial on 23 August 2017 and will be available to view until 19 November. A second sculpture, Weeping Window, will be exhibited at other venues across the UK.
Wave is a sweeping arch of bright red poppy heads suspended on towering stalks; Weeping Window is a cascade comprising several thousand handmade ceramic poppies seen pouring from a high window to the ground below. These two sculptures, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, marking the centenary of the outbreak of war, are now brought to audiences at venues across the country by 14-18 NOW as part of the Poppies tour. As with all 14-18 NOW projects, the presentation of these sculptures to new audiences across the UK aims to prompt a new, nationwide dialogue around the legacy of the First World War.
The breathtaking sculptures were initially conceived as the key dramatic sculptural elements in the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in the autumn of 2014. Over the course of their time at the Tower, the two sculptures were gradually surrounded by a vast field of ceramic poppies, each one planted by a volunteer in memory of the life of a British and Colonial soldier lost during the First World War. In their original setting they captured the public imagination and were visited by over five million people.
The original installation was conceived of as transitory, the sea of poppies growing in size until the final one was planted on 11 November 2014. On completion, however, it was agreed that the works of art at the heart of this broader act of memorial should be preserved for the nation. 14-18 NOW is grateful to the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation for their support in securing these sculptures for posterity. For the remainder of the 14-18 NOW programme, Wave and Weeping Window will be on view at selected locations around the United Kingdom. They will then be gifted to the Imperial War Museums.
Since the tour began in 2015, the sculptures have been seen by nearly two million people.
Announcing the installation, Victoria Wallace, CWGC Director General said:
"In bringing Wave to a Commonwealth War Graves site, so important to the local communities in Devon, and to the Royal Navy as a whole, we honour all war dead, and combine the force of a wonderful artwork with the body that has commemorated so many men and women for nearly a century. We hope people will visit, or see the images, and remember the sacrifice they made."
Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said:
“The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to present Wave at the Plymouth Naval Memorial in 2017 as part of the ongoing tour. Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”
The Plymouth Naval Memorial was built and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) and commemorates almost 7,300 servicemen and women of the First World War and almost 16,000 of the Second World War.
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Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, originally at HM Tower of London 2014.
LOCATION: Plymouth Naval Memorial, The Hoe, Plymouth, Devon PL1 2PJ
Wave is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept created by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, originally at HM Tower of London 2014.
Image credit: © Richard Lea-Hair and Historic Royal Palaces