Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Hold on to Peace - Image courtesy Ira Mitchell-Kirk

Monday, 17 January 2011

Poppies for Peace

"Remember" (watercolour)
Sarah Scott, New Zealand portrait artist based in America, has chosen to represent the human aspect of war in her works for Legato. Sarah writes:
Both of my grandfathers served in the war and fought at Cassino. One of them lost his leg when serving in a tank brigade at Cassino, and the other, while sheltering in a dug-out behind Mt Trocchio, the Allied Observation Post, was buried alive. It's amazing to think of not only what strangers have gone through, but of what my own flesh and blood has endured.

The exhibition is in effort to remember the damage caused during the war and to continue forth with a message of peace. While it's very hard to imagine what the men and women went through at the time, I think it's very important that we try, and that we learn from our history.

I have submitted two works to the (Cassino) exhibition, 'Flowers From Rain' and 'Remember'. Rather than focus on a strong narrative background for my portraits I wanted to convey a story simply through facial emotion. The model I used was very different from my original concept but once I saw how expressive and haunted his eyes were, I knew I had to paint him. Of course I have included poppies in each work, to represent hope and peace, two things we must cling to whenever the world is dark and stormy.

"Flowers from Rain" (Watercolour)
For the New Zealand version of Legato at the Wallace Gallery in her home town of Morrinsville Sarah has painted a third portrait. She invites the viewer to join the young soldier in contemplating the bigger picture of the loss of life in battle, represented by the bed of poppies. This contrasts with the earlier work which references personal loss, and the first work which challenges the viewer to think about what he has seen, and to always remember those lost and the need for peace.

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