Belfast Telegraph

Weeping Window poppy artwork comes to Ulster Museum

Hundreds of thousands of poppies will cascade down the front of the Ulster Museum in an art installation commemorating lives lost in the First World War.

The Weeping Window poppy sculpture features almost one million individual ceramic poppies representing British or colonial dead.

The artwork has travelled to Northern Ireland for the first time as part of Belfast International Arts Festival and opens this weekend.

Kim Mawhinney, head of art at National Museums NI, said: "This spectacular piece of art will be a great draw for visitors to the Ulster Museum and, as well as being deeply moving, it links beautifully to the collections in our new permanent Modern History gallery which explores the First World War and its aftermath through social, cultural, political and military history."

The poppy has become an international symbol of the bloodletting on the Western Front, the fields of the Somme Valley in France covered in the blood red-coloured flowers.

Poppies thrived in the churned-up earth created by the war, with many of the remains lost because of the ferocity of battle and the relentless giving and taking of ground.

The Weeping Window features 888,246 individual ceramic flowers.

Each one represents a British or colonial life lost during the Great War.

It was first installed at the Tower of London in November 2014.

Richard Wakely, director of the arts festival, said: "Poppies are for many, particularly in Ireland, a potent if not controversial symbol.

"The sculpture at the Ulster Museum is a reflection on the huge loss of life from conflict and warfare during the First World War, rather than a glorification of war.

"For the Festival, it is an opportunity to continue our public discourse on cultural identity and diversity across the island of Ireland."

Different parts of the installation have toured around various locations in the UK as part of the project 14-18 NOW, which marks the centenary of the conflict.

An estimated three million people have visited the installation at different sites so far.

The sculpture will be on display in Belfast until early December.

A public programme, Participate in Poppies, will take place in parallel at the Ulster Museum, which will see a series of talks, workshops, performances, tours and film screenings held about the symbolism of the poppy.

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