Video about the project

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Aftermath



Last Thursday I attended a special viewing of this exhibition at the John Rylands Library, Deansgate Manchester. I felt my work on Clara Lehrs is very connected with this because:
·         She experiences the Great War.
·         Letters are involved and letters are what inspired the whole Schellberg Cycle
·         Part of the exhibition is about a creative response to war, as is the Schellberg Cycle.
·         Here a voice is given to people who no longer have a voice and that is what my project does for Clara and several other people.  
In addition I was particularly pleased to go along to this as Fine Art students from the University of Salford, where I also work, have been involved in the project.

About the project

Aftermath is quite a diverse project. It includes:
  • Letters from Manchester University who served in the Great War to Professor Tout
  • An artistic response to those by Salford University Fine Art students
  • Finds unearthed form Whitworth Park by the Park’s Community Archaeology Group
  • Poetry and letters of women and war poets
  • Watercolour drawings from the Western Front by serving soldier Wilfrid Pythian
It was good to be able to talk to some of the exhibitors who face some of the issues I face in my work with Clara.

Giving the dead a voice

Many of the students who wrote to Professor Tout were killed in action. The Great War generation in any case is all but gone – only a few remain. My husband and my two children are Clara’s only living relations. None of the other real people in my Schellberg Cycle have any living blood relations. This allows a certain amount of freedom but also bestows much responsibility.
The dead no longer have a voice. Only we can speak for them. We must ask for permission in whichever way we can. We are privileged to be able to do this and we must deserve that privilege by being as open, honest and kind as we can.   

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