|Imperial War Museum, London|
I found these exhibitions really interesting. The first thing of note was whose paintings were saved. Mainly William Orpen as he was highly thought of. Paul Nash (a favourite of mine) had just three paintings saved (his prestige is higher these days and it was admitted that more of his work would be saved now!). What's in a name one might ask!
I'm sure we all remember seeing artifacts and historic buildings being smashed by Isis. I still remember how that made me feel. This was what was looked at in What Remains along with other war destruction like Dresden in WWII. History and culture are important. It's where we come from, our roots and can leave us devastated at the sheer mindless destruction. At the end of each exhibition is a chance for visitors to vote on different questions, like is it important that buildings should be restored? Even...would you die to save a building? When you vote you get to see the percentage of people who agree or do not agree with you. It's a nice interactive task.
In the Rebel Sounds exhibition there are videos and info about various conflicts and the part music played to rebel. From the Hot Club in Frankfurt during the war, The Undertones (Teenage Kicks) from Belfast in the Troubles, Public Enemy and a group from Africa. The Taliban banned music but people still listened despite the consequences of being beaten. I certainly remember when my hubby and I were in Belfast our guide talked about the Punk era in Belfast. Our guide was friends with the DJ Terri Hooley (featured in the exhibition). Punk was a backlash to the Troubles.
The room where you can sit and listen to four tracks is great. It has the sound of the stylus making contact with vinyl (you can't beat it). The bass notes vibrate through the benches so you really feel the music! I loved it. I did my voting in the end room and I heard Teenage Kicks playing again next door, and yes I did do a little dance (I love that song and I have it on vinyl). It probably gave the CCTV security guy something to smile about! I just can't keep still when music is playing.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, certainly a lot of poetry was written during the wars. Like the war artists I'm sure some was censored. Many paintings were rejected because they didn't want the folks back home to see what war was really like (not good for morale). Poets and painters told it like it was. It was their way of expressing their emotions. Sometimes writing poetry is the only way you can do that. It's cathartic.
Anyway, this turned out to be a nice little diversion yesterday. A good hour well spent. The exhibition is on until 5th January if I've whetted your appetite.
|The collection to save during WWII|
|Paul Nash - The Ypres Salient at Night (1918)|
|Outside the Imperial War Museum|