Tuesday 01 November 2016
The Welsh Government’s historic environment service, Cadw, organised a successful bid to host the monumental artwork at Caernarfon Castle in partnership with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs ‘Wales for Peace’ project.
Poppies: Weeping Window, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, arrived in Wales for the first time earlier this month as part of a UK-wide tour organised by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary.
It officially opened to the public at Caernarfon Castle on 11 October following a special launch event on 10 October. Since then, the commemorative installation has proved incredibly popular with visitor figures showing 38,256 people came to see the installation between 10–23 October.
In addition to welcoming each visitor and engaging with them to help them get the most from their stay, staff and volunteers have also spent hours listening to and talking with many visitors about their own reasons for coming and what the installation means to them, including hearing heartfelt and often moving personal stories and accounts.
Furthermore, staff and volunteers have also helped those visitors wanting to see their commemorative memories, accounts and comments captured and collated as part of a wider archive currently being collated across Wales to mark the First World War centenary to do so.
Welcoming the impressive visitor figures and Caernarfon Castle’s successful hosting of Poppies: Weeping Window, Economy and Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates said:
“That Caernarfon Castle has been able to host Weeping Window marks a significant cultural moment for the people of Wales and I am touched by how many people have been able to embrace it so far.
“This installation is a poignant commemoration to the First World War centenary and my thanks go out to all the dedicated staff and volunteers on the ground who have worked so hard to enable Poppies: Weeping Window to be here.”
Nigel Hinds, Executive Producer, 14-18 NOW, said:
“I am delighted that so many people have taken the opportunity to experience the poppies at Caernarfon Castle. It is particularly fitting that the Poppies are at the Castle over the centenary of the last weeks of the Battle of the Somme, in which the Royal Welch Fusiliers played such an important role. I am hugely grateful to the UK government and all our supporters, in particular the Backstage Trust, and our transport sponsors DAF Trucks, for enabling the poppies to be presented in Wales for the first time.”
Weeping Window is one of two sculptures taken from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red — poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper — by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces.
The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War. Weeping Window is the cascade of poppies that was seen pouring out of a high window down to the grass below. The second sculpture, Wave, is also touring the UK.
The installation will be open to the public inside Caernarfon Castle daily until 20 November 2016.
For details of the full programme please see 14–18 NOW.