The latest contributions (21st March 2014) to this International collaboration of Mail Art come from Charlie and Ty (age 7), Grace (8), Ellie and Connell (12) and PetrolPetal, a regular contributor to projects world wide. The young people working with visual artist Michelle Wood enjoyed making the Mail Art and will soon be receiving some Mail Art in the post – thank you all for your contribution.
I met Dieter Lochle the other day in my studio at 36 Lime Street. He arrived with his long standing collaborator Gavin Mayhew It is always a treat to meet other artists, particularly from other countries. Both artists will be exhibiting at Hartlepool Art Gallery in July & August. Dieter plans to make work that addresses issues around Reconciliation, Gavins practice responds to the work of Dieter, using non traditional sculptural techniques. I am looking forward to seeing the exhibition.
Its useful to see the work the young people have made, it makes me question my own visual response to this project and search for meaning and understanding. I am interested in unearthing the ‘hidden’ stories of WW1, challenging the mainstream nationalistic interpretations in the media and finding parallels between German, Belgium, French, African, Australian etc stories.
I like the use of the images here, I wonder if the young person who made this piece understands the significance of the picture of Lenin and the ending of WW1? The Mail Art made by these young people is very thought provoking and the empty envelopes signify to me a vacuum in the current mainstream commemorations of war that killed so many people.
Poppies have such resonance with WW1, the Peace Pledge Union use the white poppy to not only remember those who died, but to challenge the continued drive for war.
I think the map used here gives a good background to understanding why WW1 started. Africa is carved up by the British & French (traditionally long standing enemies), Portugese, Dutch – by 1900 90% of Africa was under European rule. This was just part of a general arms race by European countries in the lead up to 1914, military spending was increased, the industrialisation of arms manufacturing was beginning to reach its peak.
PetrolPetal presents a delicate response to the Mail Art project – this time with fine paper, instructing the viewer, ‘Handle with Care’, something forgotten during WW1 apart from moments that some would like us to forget, such as the 1914 Christmas truce.