On Tuesday 1st December, I was lucky enough to accompany a trip to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the installation ‘Wave’. The trip was organised as part of the museum’s First World War Commemoration Project, ‘To Serve King and Country’.
‘Wave’ is one of the iconic poppy sculptures that were erected at The Tower of London for the centenary of the outbreak of the war. The trip was particularly poignant for me, not only because of my connection with the project at Bowes, but because I volunteered to plant the poppies at The Tower last summer. It was an experience that I will treasure for a lifetime. I found it almost impossible to fathom that each brittle ceramic poppy represented an equally fragile human life, and that the beautiful expanse of red in front me symbolised a much darker reality.
While the poppies at YSP only constituted a small fraction of those at London, I was so impressed by the impact of ‘Wave’. The bright uniformity of the poppies at The Tower was more naturally arranged at YSP, where they beautifully complimented the rustic Yorkshire countryside. Despite being a flash of red on an otherwise grey and drizzly winter’s day, the poppies seemed a perfectly natural part of the landscape, since they were partially submerged in water and surrounded by wild vegetation. This seemed fitting, given that ‘To Serve King and Country’ is a project designed to explore the local impact of the War in Teesdale. It was, therefore, particularly special to see ‘Wave’ looking so natural as it poured into my own Yorkshire landscape.
By Sarah Boddy