Sunday, March 29, 2015

A time for poppies

Barry and I have been on the road a bit lately and after a day or two at home have headed off again.  So my posts are a bit random and my comments few and far between for which I apologise.

Last week we were work-working in Canberra and Melbourne, then home again briefly, and now we are in Central Australia. Hopefully I will have some magnificent desert photos to share soon.

But a bit of a feature of our recent days has been poppies.  Partly because we have artists' books in another exhibition "Of War and Peace" at Caloundra Regional Gallery, and partly because we visited the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, and partly because we are leading up to ANZAC Day here (25 April) and for Australians, it is the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli in 1915.

So I'll share some poppies from  our travels and our visits.

Firstly at Caloundra Regional Gallery, there is a poppy installation, and for a gold coin donation you can attach a ceramic poppy by Jan Roebuck to the wall and be part of this beautiful work of art.

"My" poppy...

"Barry's" poppy... at the top.

As a quick aside, here are two photos of my book "The Nurses 2" in the show, taken by Judy Barrass - thank you Judy for sharing them!

In Canberra, we paid tribute to my gr-grandfather and his brother who fought and died in WW1. It was poignant again as we had visited their graves and burial places in Belgium and France when we there in November last year.

My great-grandfather William Mason Proudfoot on the Roll of Honour.

His brother Robert George Henderson Proudfoot.

One of the walls of the Roll of Honour...

And here they are recognised on the other side of the world.

William 's name is on the Menin Gate in Ieper along with the names of 500,00 allied troops for whom there is no known grave. It struck me I was wearing the engagement ring he gave my great grandmother Isabella. They were married for 3 months before he went into barracks and then left for the war. My grandmother was born 11 months after their wedding, and William never saw his daughter; and she never knew her father.

We visited Robert's grave in northern France and left a poppy and a peace tag.

And we found poppies and peace at the "Pieces for Peace" exhibition in Ieper.

So many poppies, so many dead, and still we go to war...


  1. Beautiful work, but, yes, war rages on :(

    1. It is hard to work out the balance between the two when making art Valerianna - not to honour praise or glorify war; yet to somehow recognise it and its impact.

  2. I have been struggling with words lately (which accounts for much of my silence - on my blogs, in comments) --- I can't put in words how this post has made me feel - thank you xxx

  3. a meaningful post - this idea of ceramic poppies en masse intrigues me. there was just that big installation at the tower of london - the sea of red poppies symbolizing (among other things) blood shed during war. ceramic is durable, yet fragile.
    one would hope that these things would help to curb war - and yet... but that is why we walk the way of peace and plant seeds where we can.
    that watercolor is spectacular, by the way.

    1. So true MJ - I think the ceramic poppy is both bold and beautiful, fragile yet strong - and so succinctly represents blood shed and lost. We have to keep finding ways, picking a peaceful path through sadness and horror and destruction and reminding ourselves and there that peace is possible.


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