Crafting Remembrance

'HMS Kimberley' by Vanessa Rolf, 'Poems to the Sea' series, 2012. 210cm x 104cm, cotton canvas and thread via minouette on Pinterest
By minouette (scientist by vocation artist by avocation) : As we approach Remembrance Day, I am thinking about art about war, and memorializing the lost. Textile artist Vanessa Rolf's series 'Poems to the Sea' 2009-2011 includes quilts and needlework documenting naval warfare in WWII. Her beautiful
Vanessa Rolf, His lowly grave, 2012. 55cm x 40cm, canvas and thread
Inherited patched canvas embroidered with the names of German battleships sunk during World War 2. 170cm x 105cm. Canvas and thread.
tapestries and quilts, on inherited canvas, and in their limited colour palette of blues and whites, are quite evocative. The HMS Kimberley above, was a Royal Navy K-class destroyer, which was one of only two of its class to survive the war. The pieces below shows the name of all German vessels which did not survive
Vanessa Rolf. Mers el Kebir,2012. 45cm x 40cm, cotton and thread
and a memorial to the sailors who died for France at Mersel Kabir in 1940. I wrote previously (Juxtaposition and Craftivism) about the power of contrasting media (in artworks which have been traditionally deemed 'craft' and even sometimes 'women's work') with implements of war and violence. Remembrance Day is not only a day to give thanks to those who gave up their lives, and surviving vetrans
Magnus Gjoen, Delft Machine Gun, Digital. Source: via minouette on Pinterest
who served their nation in times of war, but to recall the horrors of war and the senselessness of violence. We also mustn't forget the thousands of civilians lost to wars. This brings to mind two other artists, who have created works about and with weapons. British artist Magnus Gjoen "often questions the correlation 
Magnus Gjoen, Flowerbomb, Digital Vexel art
between religion, war, beauty & destruction in his art," and plays with making extremely destructive weapons beautiful and fragile. Mexico-city based artist Pedro Reyes has created a series of 50 musical
Magnus Gjoen, AK-47 Concert of Birds, Digital Vexel art
instruments called 'Imagine' working with 6,700 guns seized by the Mexican government related to gun violence and the drug war in the country. He is constrasting their new, modified, potential to create
beautiful music from their  violent pasts. Almost  80,000 people have lost their lives to gun violence in Mexico over the last six years and the project serves as requiem. He writes, "It’s important to consider
that many lives were taken with these weapons; as if a sort of exorcism was taking place the music expelled the demons they held, as well as being a requiem for lives lost.

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