I was pleased to be asked to work with Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool on a trail, to accompany their Poppies: Weeping Window installation at St George’s Hall. Like many people, I was really excited when I heard that the artwork would be in the city during the Remembrance commemorations. I also thought it was very apt that it should be situated at St George’s Hall, where thousands of men had enlisted for the First World War, and where we now gather every year, to commemorate those who have lost their lives in conflict.
I hope that visitors to the Weeping Window will also explore the Liverpool Remembers trail panels that lead down to the Pier Head. Culture Liverpool initially approached National Museums Liverpool to see if we had some interesting images to illustrate the trail, as part of the UK wide 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions. I suggested some possible stories and ended up providing stories for all 21 of the panels. Given enough time, I could have written the same number again because Merseyside has such a rich history. It feels like I have been submerged in a world full of poppies!
The Museum of Liverpool and Merseyside Maritime Museum have commemorated the First World War through exhibitions, including From waterfront to Western Front, Poppies: Women and War and Lusitania. On some of the trail panels we touch on the stories we tell in those exhibitions – you can visit our museums nearby to find out more. The trail also takes you past many buildings of interest, including World Museum and the Walker Art Gallery.
Through the connection to the Weeping Window installation, the trail is focused on Remembrance and commemoration. However, we provided a variety of subjects. It was quite difficult to get a balance so that it is not all about loss, but it is also definitely not ‘celebrating’ war. The stories are a real mix of the experiences of men, women and children. All the stories are from the First World War and have a local connection. The nature of the subject means that each panel on the trail will have an emotional connection for some visitors. I may be a bit biased when I say all of the stories, without exception, have something in them that I think is interesting and I hope the visitors to the trail will feel the same. We have tried to bring the city and its people to life. I hope we have succeeded.
I am proud to have been involved in this project and, I am very grateful to Liverpool City Council and Culture Liverpool for asking me include so many stories that I thought were important. If you get the chance, come down and have a look, you don’t have to follow the trail in any particular order, and you don’t have to do it all in one go, the panels will be there until 17 January 2016. You can’t miss them, you can tell by our picture that they are huge!
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