Gallipoli: The scale of our war marked its first anniversary this week, on Monday 18th April. The phenomenal numbers visiting the exhibition have left an enormous number of poppies in the shell crater occupied by Cecil Malthus.
Skimming the poppies from this ‘pool’ – to stop them from spilling into the gallery and causing a tidal surge into Wellington foyer – has been a regular job for the exhibition maintenance team.
Over the last twelve months, we have been carefully saving the poppies. But the first anniversary of the exhibition’s opening seemed like a special moment for us to completely empty the crater and start afresh.
Above is my snapshot of the bottom of the crater, revealed after three of us spent an hour on Monday morning scooping out poppies. You can actually see the Western Front mud again.
That evening, I checked the exhibition, and already poppies were accumulating (below). I picked out one poppy out at random and read:
‘I’m glad grandad returnd home‘.
We will now reflect on a year’s worth poppies, and sample, read and share your messages contained in this archive of thoughts and emotions prompted by the exhibition.
And the 100th anniversary of the first Anzac Day commemorations, this coming Monday, is when you can come to Te Papa add your poppy and your thoughts and reflections to exhibition. You can also read other messages in an earlier blog or you can leave your own online.
If you have already visited Gallipoli: The scale of our war or want to find out more about the Great War and it’s impact on New Zealanders, come to Te Papa from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th April, to experience live RNZ broadcasts, film screenings, curator talks and book signings.
Poppies kindly supplied by Ricoh.
Curator Modern New Zealand