Northern Ireland Competes to Host Remaining WWI Ceramic Poppies in 2017

Organizers will soon select the poppies' destinations for 2017.

Paul Cummins, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.Photo: YouTube.
Paul Cummins, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
Photo: YouTube.

Following a successful run at the Tower of London, Paul Cummins and Tom Piper’s ceramic poppies are now at the center of a bidding competition, namely among multiple institutions in Northern Ireland, reports the BBC.

The popular installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was designed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, and attracted over 5 million visitors, including Kate Middleton and Prince William.

Almost all of the original 888,246 ceramic flowers were sold to benefit charity, and the remaining 6,000 blooms make up two smaller sculptures, Wave and Weeping Window, which are currently travelling throughout the UK. The tour is run by 1418-NOW, a temporary organization that oversees art commissions marking WWI’s centenary between 2014 and 2018.

Paul Cummins, <em>Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red</em>.<br>Photo: YouTube.

Paul Cummins, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
Photo: YouTube.

Currently, 1418-Now is inviting “expressions of interest” from prospective 2017 hosts. The BBC reports that the National Museums Northern Ireland and the Belfast International Arts Festival have teamed up for a joint-proposal to host the installation at the Ulster Museum in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens. Meanwhile, the Belfast City Council is submitting a separate bid, with hopes of taking the ceramic flowers to the Belfast City Hall.

Just northeast of Belfast, the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council announced plans of their own of taking the traveling poppies to Carrickfergus. In a statement to Carrick Times, a council spokesperson confirmed the city’s submission “with a view to its future use at Carrickfergus Castle.”

Paul Cummins, <em>Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red</em>.<br>Photo: YouTube.

Paul Cummins, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.
Photo: YouTube.

So far, the poppies have hit Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Liverpool, with Weeping Window appearing at St George’s Hall in Liverpool (November 6, 2015–January 17, 2016). Concurrently, Wave ran at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton (November 8, 2015–January 10, 2016). Later this year, the two segments will reunite at the Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, England; the Black Watch Museum in Perth, Scotland; and the Caernarfon Castle in Whales.

A representative of 1418-NOW told artnet News that the organization plans on announcing the successful 2017 applications later this summer.


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