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Harboursculpture #2 – ‘So Many Tears’

This piece has been an emotional journey for me.

Like many, I can only begin to understand the sacrifices of families and individuals who were caught up in wartime conflicts.

With this year, 2017, being the one hundred year anniversary of the worst of the carnage on the Western Front in World War 1, there are many emotions running and many commemorations happening. This work is my attempt to honour those who paid that ultimate sacrifice and to those that were left behind.

It consists of:

  • Recycled wharf timbers from Newcastle, where many of our troops embarked – some maybe even having trod on these pieces of wood.
  • Multiple glass tears falling over heavily worn and rotted timber.
  • Relief carving of our soldier’s iconic slouch hat.
  • Relief carving of the Australian Imperial Forces coat of arms & text which appears on so many of their graves.
  • Lighting: white spots on the relief carving, and red spots on the glass tears. As the ambient light changes at daybreak and as the day closes, the red spots will highlight the tears, turning them blood-like.
  • The structure is deliberately orientated to expose the glass tears at sunrise and at sunset … we-will-remember-them.

This piece has additional significant meaning for me and my family, as my great uncle was one of those who were sacrificed a century ago this October in the ill-fated series of assaults on Passchendaele in Belgium. I had the honour of visiting his grave site in Tyne Cot Cemetery a couple of years ago – a most humbling experience.

The AIF emblem and the text ‘Greater Love Hath No Man’ which I have placed on this piece is what has been carved on his grave stone.

I have delayed posting about this work as I have been waiting for better conditions to document it – for example, some sunlight to charge the solar lights so it can be seen in the evening, and document with stronger light during the day. A week after the show opening and I am still waiting, with the forecast of a continuation of the same weather pattern for another week. The best pictures so far are on my Facebook page. [https://www.facebook.com/chidzey.art] Ahh, the life of an installation artist.

It is my hope to have it installed at a suitable venue before I go to the Italy residency and Biennale later in the year, so it will be able to be viewed on the anniversary of my great uncle’s death in October.