100 ceramic medals at centre of exhibition reflecting on First World War Remembrance

Published on: Tue, 15/01/2019 - 08:47

100 Ceramic Medals at NMA

The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, is host to a new ceramic art installation by Clare Twomey. Medals for the Future is inspired by events held at the Arboretum to mark the centenary of the First World War. It rounds off four years of First World War centenary commemorations that have included landmark events and projects in recognition of the Battle of the Somme, the Battle of Passchendaele, Armistice Day and many more.  

Clare Twomey is widely known for her large-scale ceramic installations and collaborated with the Arboretum to develop Medals for the Future, drawing on the experience of thousands of visitors attending the centenary events at the Arboretum over the last four years. At the Arboretum’s Armistice Day 2018 commemorations, as thousands gathered to mark 100 years since the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War, Twomey held a drop-in session where visitors were asked think about the qualities and achievements that they hope can be commended in the next hundred years. These reflections have been glazed onto 100 ceramic medals which are displayed on wooden benches, as a fragile memento of this significant moment when people gathered to remember the sacrifices made by those in the conflict.

The shape of each medal was inspired by a Dead Man’s Penny which is on display at the Arboretum. A Dead Man’s Penny, or Next of Kin Memorial Plaque, was bestowed to the next of kin of all commonwealth service personnel who died as a result of their injuries in the First World War. These contemporary porcelain medals cast in the same way the bronze counterparts were encourage visitors to look toward how we will commemorate such sacrifices in the future.

 Aysha Afridi, Head of Heritage and Learning, National Memorial Arboretum, said: “Temporary exhibitions are a key part of our cultural offering, allowing us to engage new audiences and explore the concept of Remembrance through a wide array of artistic mediums. This new exhibition produced in collaboration with internationally renowned artist Claire Twomey has captured the reflections of visitors and demonstrates the diversity of how people remember and pay tribute to personal sacrifice.”

Clare Twomey, said: “To make an artwork that responds to the National Memorial Arboretum is to make a response to the people it sets out to remember. This is a very personal journey for all of those who visit the Arboretum. It is the people who visit that animate these vast memorials with stories and shared memories. It is important to acknowledge that remembrance is a very human thing, and I wanted to incorporate this into the new work by inviting the public to contribute to the forming of the art work.”