The Ulster Museum will present the Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies. The installation will be at the Ulster Museum from 14 October to 3 December 2017, following a joint proposal by National Museums Northern Ireland and Belfast International Arts Festival.
The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, will give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The Ulster Museum houses Northern Ireland’s national collections of art, history and natural science. In 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Ulster Museum opened a new, permanent ‘Modern History’ gallery. The ‘Decade of Centenaries’ period, from 1912-22, is at the heart of this gallery, in recognition of the significance of this period in shaping the future, outlook and identities of what was to become Northern Ireland. The First World War and its aftermath are explored through social, cultural, political and military history.
Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said, “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to take them to Northern Ireland for the first time in 2017, where Weeping Window will be presented at the Ulster Museum, in partnership with the Belfast International Arts Festival. Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”
Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland, said, “We are delighted that this powerful and deeply moving sculpture will be coming to the Ulster Museum. As well as enriching Northern Ireland’s cultural and artistic landscape, this spectacular piece of art will also play a role in deepening our understanding of the First World War and sense of shared history during this pivotal period. The Weeping Window will be a very special addition to our extensive Decade of Centenaries 1912-22 programme.”
Richard Wakely, Director of the Belfast International Arts Festival, said, “With less than a week until the start of the 2016 Festival, we are delighted and honored to have confirmation that we will co-host Poppies: Weeping Window which will be a cornerstone of next year’s Belfast International Arts Festival programme. This project continues our cultural reflection on the importance and legacy of The Decade of Centenaries and the First World War in particular, which started this year with contributions from Taylor Mac, Fearghus Ó Conchúir and Matthew Green. We appreciate that this is an opportunity for people throughout Ireland to experience this wonderful ceramic sculpture and we will work in partnership with other organisations to promote community initiatives that enable a greater understanding around the history of the First World War and what it means to Ireland today.”
Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.
The two poppy sculptures being presented across the UK, together totaling over 10,000 poppies, have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums. Financial support for the presentations has been received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and fundraising for the presentations is ongoing.
DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.
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Paul Cummins MBE is a ceramic artist, internationally renowned for the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at HRP Tower of London 2014, as well as many other installations including his work on the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Locations for previous works include the Houses of Parliament, Chatsworth House, Althorp Estate and Blenheim Palace. Paul was inspired to produce a ceramic poppy to honour every death in the British forces of the First World War, numbering 888,246.
Tom Piper MBE was Associate Designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2004 to 2014, and was closely involved in the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. His theatre credits include over 30 productions for the RSC, including the award-winning History series. Other recent designs include Hamlet, King Lear (Citizens Theatre), Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre and St Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn), Tamburlaine (TFANA New York), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park Theatre), The King’s Speech (Birmingham Rep and Tour) and Zorro the Musical (West End and world tour). Piper’s opera credits include Macbeth and Falstaff (Scottish Opera), Orfeo (ROH and Roundhouse). Tom collaborated with the British Museum and Alan Farlie Architects on the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Tom is a Creative Associate at the Tricycle Theatre. His many awards include an Olivier Award (costume design) for the Histories series.
14 -18 NOW
14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It aims to engage as many people as possible with the First World War, exploring how the war has impacted on the society we live in now. 14-18 NOW commissions new work by leading contemporary artists from all art forms, inspired by the period 1914-1918. The commemorative period is marked by three key seasons – the first season centred around 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), the second is March to November 2016 (anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme) and the last in 2018 (centenary of Armistice Day). 14-18 NOW is responsible for the UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. 14 -18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising. 14-18 NOW has commissioned over 140 artworks to date that have been seen by more than 30 million people.