Shrouds of the Somme

Shrouds of the Somme is an exhibition by Rob Heard at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and is a physical representation of every one of the 72,396 British Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Somme that have no known grave. I went along with my sister to have a look and to remember all those that have fallen in war.

Each fallen servicemen was represented as an individual, miniature figure wrapped in a shroud. The figures were laid out in neat rows, and were slightly different to one another. Looking at the shrouds, it was astonishing and incredibly powerful to see just how large a number 72,396 is, a number that is difficult to comprehend in your head.

To one side of the field, there were a smaller number figures. These had placards at the head of each figure with a number and a date. The dates ran from the battles before the Somme in 1914 and ran to battles until 1918. There were dates for every day in those years. The numbers below the dates showed how many servicemen have died on that day. The deadliest day was at the start of the Somme, July 1st with 19,240 that died.

The exhibition was a very powerful one, and quite an emotional one my sister and I found. It was difficult, poignant and important to see just how many had died for our freedom and way of life.

I was pleased to see that there were lots of school children on a day trip to the see the shrouds. We have to hope that exhibitions like these have an impact on future generations and that we look for peaceful solutions to conflicts instead of violent ones that destroy families and communities.

This quote by the artist Rob Heard in the booklet I bought has stayed with me since I read it and I’m sure will stay with me for along time yet
“As a nation, we marked the beginning of the centenary of the beginning of the war with ceramic poppies in the summer sunshine and will commemorate the end with 72,000 dead bodies laid out in the November rain”

Colour and Vision at NHM

A great thing about living in London is having access to some of the top museums in the world. One of the best and most popular is the Natural History Museum. This year they had an interesting exhibition on called Colour and Vision and seeing as it had been a few years since my last visit I thought it was a good opportunity to go back.
The building is beautiful with lots of exquisite detail. The tall arched doorways and the intricately designed pillars make for a grand view.

Natural History Museum

Inside there’s lots to see, such as the dinosaurs and sea animals but I headed straight for the Colour and Vision exhibition before it got busy. The exhibition was about how animals view and display colour in nature. The entrance was aptly marked by a brightly lit colour spectrum and cues to help keep an open mind.

As I walked through the exhibition there were lots of interesting animals and displays, some that made me slightly squeamish at times, like the animal eyeballs in jars. Others were stunning such as the exotic birds with colourful feathers and butterflies with vibrant, standout wings.

The exhibition was insightful and interesting with some truly beautiful displays and facts that make you wonder about the amazing animals that share our world. (sadly my camera couldn’t capture this very well due to the dim lighting). It was a good visit overall, and I would definitely recommend a trip.

Spring in St Christopher’s Place

It’s starting to feel like Spring has arrived in London and in particular in St Christopher’s Place where a creative installation of 1200 ‘floating’ flowers has been brightening up the street.

As well as the flowers hanging over the street many of the shops have also been creating displays to fit the the theme of the event.

On a bright day like today it was lovely lunchtime stroll and a much needed break from the office. For those of you interested in going to visit you’ll have to be quick as the exhibition is only around for a few more days.

V&A: Islamic Middle East

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has some really interesting exhibits, showcasing pieces from all around the world. One of the collections I always stop to admire when I visit is the Islamic Middle East which consists of some really beautiful pieces from as far back as the 7th century.

Some of my favourite and I think most impressive pieces on show are the Ardabil carpet which is one of the largest and finest in existence made in 1540, the second largest Qu’ran in the world from the 14th century and the pretty turquoise coloured tiles from 1358. I love the use of detailed geometric patterns and writings to embellish everyday objects that were placed in homes and places of worship.

My photos don’t do justice to how intricate and colourful some of these artifacts are but if you’re ever in London I would definitely recommend a visit.