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Ulster Museum to host dramatic ‘Weeping Window’ poppy sculpture

Iconic poppies to cascade from roof of Ulster Museum

A dramatic poppy sculpture, which was part of First World War centenary commemorations at the Tower of London, is to be hosted at the Ulster Museum.

Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper, which saw the Tower of London covered in 888,246 poppies in November 2014.

The hundreds of thousands of handmade ceramic poppies were planted to commemorate every British military death in the First World War, marking 100 years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the conflict.

The Ulster Museum will present the Weeping Window as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies.  The poppies will cascade from the roof of the building, in the style of previous hosts Black Watch Museum in Scotland, Lincoln Castle and Caernarfon Castle in North Wales.

The installation will be at the Ulster Museum from 14 October to 3 December 2017, following a joint proposal by National Museums Northern Ireland and Belfast International Arts Festival.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, will give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance.

In 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Ulster Museum opened a new, permanent ‘Modern History’ gallery.

The ‘Decade of Centenaries’ period, from 1912-22, is at the heart of this gallery, in recognition of the significance of this period in shaping the future, outlook and identities of what was to become Northern Ireland. The First World War and its aftermath are explored through social, cultural, political and military history. 

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said: “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to take them to Northern Ireland for the first time in 2017, where Weeping Window will be presented at the Ulster Museum, in partnership with the Belfast International Arts Festival.

“Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”

Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland, said: “We are delighted that this powerful and deeply moving sculpture will be coming to the Ulster Museum. As well as enriching Northern Ireland’s cultural and artistic landscape, this spectacular piece of art will also play a role in deepening our understanding of the First World War and sense of shared history during this pivotal period. 

“The Weeping Window will be a very special addition to our extensive Decade of Centenaries 1912-22 programme.”

Richard Wakely, Director of the Belfast International Arts Festival, said: “With less than a week until the start of the 2016 Festival, we are delighted and honored to have confirmation that we will co-host Poppies: Weeping Window which will be a cornerstone of next year’s Belfast International Arts Festival programme.

“This project continues our cultural reflection on the importance and legacy of The Decade of Centenaries and the First World War in particular, which started this year with contributions from Taylor Mac, Fearghus Ó Conchúir and Matthew Green.

“We appreciate that this is an opportunity for people throughout Ireland to experience this wonderful ceramic sculpture and we will work in partnership with other organisations to promote community initiatives that enable a greater understanding around the history of the First World War and what it means to Ireland today.”

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