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Galleries: Two powerful and poignant exhibitions inspired by Great War

By Elizabeth Baird

Published 22/07/2016

The result is 27 paintings and six drawings interspersed by Burnside's poetry
The result is 27 paintings and six drawings interspersed by Burnside's poetry

A number of years ago a Red Cross postcard bought in a flea market in Berlin, became the inspiration for this exhibition. The card, written on the 11/11/18 by a young man who had presumably been wounded, "haunted me" says Bangor artist Leslie Nicholl. He added: "Stretcher bearers show a unique form of courage. They go forward unarmed but under fire, to save the life of a comrade ... I am in awe of those young men."

This chance find and Nicholl's fascination with the subject, led him to carry out nine years of research in Dublin, London, Germany, France and Belgium. He then emailed his results to poet Sam Burnside as inspiration for his own work which features in the exhibition and also in his latest book, Forms of Freedom.

The result is 27 paintings and six drawings interspersed by Burnside's poetry. Attempting to link the images as closely as possible with the battle itself, Nicholl has used soil, chalk and poppy seeds from the Somme.

It is a poignant, powerful reminder of all those who suffered and laid down their lives for our freedom.

The exhibition will move to the Imperial War Museum, London and, after that, perhaps to Berlin.

Shelter: Anne Tallentine

Nerve Visual, Eighty81, Ebrington, Londonderry

Until July 31. Tues-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat and Sun 11am-6pm

In this exhibition Irish artist Anne Tallentine considers an architectural legacy of the Nissan hut, the curved structure invented during the First World War to house soldiers and supplies.

It was a basic, utilitarian structure and Tallentine's work is equally basic. Unadorned, using simple materials - corrugated iron, scaffolding poles, a tarpaulin or cheap ply board - only what is necessary with no embellishments, to meet basic survival requirements.

This work is one of the World War One centenary art co-commissions.

Once over the exhibition will move to the Ulster Museum.

Belfast Telegraph

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