UWE artists on show in WW1 centenary exhibition programme at Royal West of England Academy

Issue date: 14 July 2014

Back From the Front

Art, Memory and the Aftermath of War

Royal West of England Academy, 19 July – 17 September 2014

Artists and academics from UWE Bristol are playing a prominent part in an exhibition programme to remember World War 1 at the Royal West of England Academy.

The exhibition programme is called Back From the Front, starts on 19 July and is in three parts. The first part, entitled Brothers in Art, shows paintings by the major British war artists Paul Nash and John Nash. Professor Paul Gough, formerly UWE Deputy Vice-Chancellor, is curator of the entire exhibition programme and in July will publish a book entitled 'Brothers in Arms' to coincide with the show.

Paul said, “All across the university there has been a lot of creative interest in commemorating the Centenary; the ideas that have been generated in writing, artworks, music and multi-media are typical of the creative innovation that is at the heart of UWE.”

The second part of the exhibition programme, Shock and Awe, displays work by artists who have been exposed to the front-line experience of war and by those who have responded to recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Balkans. A wide range of current and former staff are featured. A gallery of images is here.

AHRC Senior Research Fellow Elizabeth Turrell RWA has been working with a small group of medal-makers from the US, UK and Europe to create and revive 'peace medals' that were first shown at the Velvet da Vinci Gallery in San Francisco in 2003-07.

PhD alumna Kate Davies is a film-maker who has made a film about the repatriation ceremonies at Royal Wootton Bassett. Derived from 17 separate visits to the town, Davies' film installation is an extraordinary evocation of loss, mourning and absence.

MA alumna Emma Stibbon RWA RA will be exhibiting several pieces of work relating to her printmaking work in Berlin. The work describes the monumental sculpture of the city.

Dr Paul Laidler, Research Fellow at the Centre for Fine Print Research (CFPR), is creating a large image of a wreath in acrylic using the laser cutting facilities at the CFPR . The image will be at the very front of the exhibition.

Lecturer Ian Chamberlain is creating a suite of large prints which depict the offshore fortresses that were located in the English Channel.

The third part of the exhibition programme consists of Arts Council England commissions. The project is the outcome of a successful bid by UWE visiting professor Andrew Kelly, for an Arts Council England grant to commission 20 pieces of art including poetry, short stories and music that reflect on remembrance, loss and peace. The majority of the commissions will be shown at the Royal West of England Academy in the exhibitions Re-membering I and Re-membering II. UWE alumni, students and staff carrying out commissions include:

Diana Beltran Herrera, MA in Fine Art, who is creating a paper-folded wreath using innovative paper engineering skills.

Senior Photography Lecturer Angus Fraser who has created a suite of photographs on the theme of memorials.

Dr Shawn Sobers, Senior Lecturer in Photography and Media, who is working on a project linked to the ill-fated SS Mendi, a troopship which sank off the Isle of Wight in 1917 with the loss of 646 lives, most of them members of the South African Native Labour Corps, en route to France. Both he and Angus Fraser will be working with BA Hons Photography students to curate a show in The Cube Gallery at the RWA as part of the overarching shows.

Liz Lane, Senior Lecturer in Music Technology - Composition and Performance, will create a new work for brass band and narrator called Silver Rose, conducted by Ian Holmes, Principal Conductor of Lydbrook Band and Director of the UWE's Centre for Performing Arts. It will incorporate poems by Bristol-born war poet Isaac Rosenberg and will be performed at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on 9 November.

Elena Marco, Scott Hills, John Comparelli and students in the Department of Architecture and the Built Environment will be working on a project with a series of architectural models and drawings that respond to the site of the first British mustard gas factory in Avonmouth, Bristol.

A city-wide programme of activity is being co-ordinated Bristol Cultural Development Partnership - see their Facebook page Bristol 2014.

For further information contact Dr Hazel Brown, who is the Project Research Assistant for the First World War Centenary projects at UWE.

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