Sent to me by Astrid Jahns, based in Germany 100 years First World War: Lay Down Your Weapon! is a foundation based in Stuttgart. The Foundation is interested in artistic interpretations of WW1 and organised a call out for submissions of posters addressing the theme. Further details can be downloaded HERE
Recent Mail Art in from Robyn Foster based in Queensland Australia, draws attention to the sense of loss experienced by those left behind during war and conflict. The wedding images take on a macabre and sinister role as the figure of the man is altered and obliterated by war.
Other mail art in includes work by Ukraine based mail artist Lubomyr Timkiv. His work is very poignant and has echoes of the current situation in Ukraine.
The scissors signifying the potential tearing apart of a country.
Lubomyr organises exhibitions of Mail Art and contemporary art in his garage gallery in Lviv.
Closer to home Marie-Christine De Grave in Belgium delivers images and text reflecting the industrial scale and devastation of the war, with an image of an unknown soldier, raising questions to his identity and thoughts of the many who died.
Marie-Christine de Grave
Marie-Christine de Grave
Lastly, Brazil base Celestial Scribe, takes on the task of understanding the history of the bombardment in Hartlepool December 16th 1914, with his light hearted approach to an traditional ‘English’ image.
A film shown at a BridgesNorthEast event in April 2014 @Hartlepool Maritime Experience about The Belgians of Birtley – the story of Munitions Production in WW1 download HERE
The story starts in the early stages of World War I, when Britain at last realised that its armaments were no match in either effectiveness or numbers for those being put to horribly efficient use by a fully modernised German Army. Indeed, so bad were things as far as ammunition was concerned that the Commander in Chief of the British Army, Lord French, had apparently had to order at least some of the big guns at the front to fire no more than ten shells per day, in order to conserve ammunition! When the news of this, the great Shell Scandal, was leaked, in March 1915, the Asquith government had no option but to resign immediately.
The new Government of National Unity at once appointed David LLoyd George as their new Minister of Munitions, and his department set about building munitions factories all over the country, including one next to the little village of Birtley in County Durham, just south of Newcastle upon Tyne, commissioning Armstrong-Whitworth of Tyneside to construct and run it, along with a neighbouring cartridge factory. One large problem arose, however – finding people to work in them, seeing that most British munitions workers were by now at the front, while most of the female workforce was already in employment in other factories.
Siobhan Tarr presents a thought provoking response with her mosaic like homage to the 3.700,000 women who entered the Workforce during WW1 including those who worked at the National Shell Filling Factory Number 9 on the outskirts of Banbury.
Siobhan Tarr, Germany
”Risking their health and their lives, working in munitions factories, women were often called canary girls. because of their yellow skin – the result of repeated exposure to TNT. Some even gave birth to yellow canary babies.”
Siobhan Tarr will work with a group of young people in Lauenburg in Germany, as part of a interdisciplinary history / art project, initiated in 2012 by the Heimatbund und Geschichtsverein Herzogtum Lauenburg (Lauenburg native and historical society) and its co-operation partner Lauenburg Art Association. This year the young people will be investigating Volkstrauertag and the questions it raises. This is the annual German national day of mourning, commemorating those from all countries, military and civilian, who have died either in or as a result of armed conflicts. They will look at the theme of WW1 local stories, interviewing old people and looking into local archives and records etc. Using the information they collect and with reference to their own place in this legacy, the youths in Lauenburg will work from a German perspective in an attempt to relay this to the young people of Hartlepool and beyond using Mail art. For young people worldwide, it is an excellent opportunity to actively share differing perspectives and interpretations in regard to the legacy of war. Siobhan Tarr
Otto Sherman, is a prolific maker of Stamp Art, medals and cancellation art, with sometimes contradictory sinister and playful motifs reoccurring in his work. He has forwarded on pages of Stamp art that I will pass onto the young peopl in Hartlepool to use – when the time comes! And include in my own Mail Art prodcutions.
Mail Art in from some young people in Whitley Bay and a beautiful envelope designed by Madeleine, aged 12 who includes a poem by Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth.
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Madeleine aged 12, UK
Other work in includes teeth-like flowers by Dorian Ribas of the industrialised objects of brass shells.
Dorian Ribas Brazil
Christian aged 11 UK
Poppy aged 11, UK
Lucy aged 12, UK
Fred aged 12, UK