Red Wave Rising

By Paul Gibbins

Red Wave Rising - Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

Red Wave Rising – Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

‘Wave’ is temporary Poppy Sculpture in front of the Naval Memorial on Plymouth Hoe. It was designed by Tom Piper collaborating with Artist Paul Cummins and funded by UK Art and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as part of the UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW, for the First World War Centenary. It is an amazing piece of work, best viewed equally by day and by night (it’s lit) and well worth a visit.

The sculpture is an incredible arrayed curve of clay Poppy’s launching towards the Memorial; it is by nature dynamic and appears to reach towards and almost touch the concrete monolith. Taking the theme of individually constructed flowers woven into a wire sculpture, this piece of work originates from the 2014 exhibition at the Tower of London: ‘Blood swept Land and Seas of Red’, where 888,246 poppies literally flooded the moat and beyond to stunning visual effect. Wave is as good, better perhaps.

And like any piece of Art should do, it got me thinking about ‘Remembrance’. As an ex Royal Marine, this is a familiar date on the calendar for me, increasingly a moment to pause and reflect on conflicts past and present, particularly Royal Marine friends lost on Operations. And yet the flower synonymous with the annual ceremony on a chilly and often wet November Sunday, remains as divisive as it is inclusive in modern British Society. For many, wearing a Poppy is popular around September up to and beyond Remembrance Sunday, but not for all. Society reflects on loss in different ways and ‘Wave’ reminds us of that.

Red Wave Rising - Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

‘Red Wave Rising – Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

Red Wave Rising - Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

Red Wave Rising – Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins

Given Plymouth’s strong Military History, Remembrance Sunday is a significant date for the City and across Devon. Wearing a poppy is a highly personal choice and whilst it’s almost convention to do so, we can also reflect through Artwork such as ‘ Wave’, which successfully achieves it’s aim: a refreshing take on a familiar cultural theme, a bit different and yet the same; it’ll get you thinking that’s for sure.

Wave is available to see until 19th November 2017. More Information on the Sculpture here

Red Wave Rising – Plymouth Poppies. Credit Paul Gibbins