A client asked me to create a painting which would encompass the act of remembrance, for an anonymous donation to the Jewish Military Museum which is moving to Camden, London. In July 2013 I presented the finished painting to Lord Sterling, and an audience of AJEX members - The Association of Jewish Ex Servicemen.
This is for all of those who have fallen, and for those left behind.
When first viewed this work appears to be a simple landscape of red poppies under a dramatic sky. Poppies have a great deal of significance in the act of remembrance. A gathering storm or a storm passing I'll let you decide. In the upper left hand quadrant I created a block of text to draw the viewer in for a closer look. The words are from a poem by Laurence Binyon "For the Fallen" written in 1914:
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Poignant words, the theme of the painting now becomes clear. Looking closer you notice more writing vertically across the bottom of the picture interweaved among the poppies.
Father, Mother, Son, Daughter, Grandchild, Nephew, Uncle, Friend, Pal, Grandfather, Brother... the list goes on to describe many relationships affected by the loss of one.
There are also words to describe some everyday interactions, memories to remind us they are no longer here: a hug, a smile, a familiar knock at the door, words of encouragement a laugh, gesture a look.... all gone.
One loss affects many and the all too common headline we see, "A soldier was killed today.... the family have been informed", it doesn't tell the full story of how many lives are affected and what has been lost.
So this is a painting for all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and for those left behind. As survivors from the great conflicts of the past diminish in number, the list of fallen continues to grow.
My generation has been fortunate to live in more peaceful times, made possible through the sacrifice of others. It is important for us and for future generations never to forget the sacrifice others have made....