Poppies: Wave outside IWM North by Artist Paul Cummins and Designer Tom Piper.Photographed 7th September 2018.

The iconic poppy sculpture Wave by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper has opened IWM North. This is the final presentation of Wave as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the poppies, and the sculpture will be on site until 25 November 2018.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The sculptures have already been viewed by 4 million people to date. At the end of the tour they will become part of the Imperial War Museums’ collection.

IWM was founded in 1917 in the midst of the First World War to record and share civilian and military experiences of war, and to commemorate the sacrifices of all sections of society. Today, IWM continues to tell the human stories of war and explore how conflict has shaped the world in which we all live. Wave will be installed on the exterior of IWM North, the multi award winning building designed by world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind to represent a globe shattered by conflict.

Wave is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one for every British or Colonial life lost at the Front during the First World War. Together, the sculptures Wave and Weeping Window are made of over 11,000 poppies.

Diane Lees, Director-General of IWM, said:

“IWM is proud to be hosting Wave on the final stop of its journey around the UK. Over the course of the First World War Centenary Wave and Weeping Window have played an invaluable role in connecting the public with a conflict that has now passed out of living memory. They have encouraged us to consider the legacy of the First World War both on a local and a national level, and have reminded us of its human cost in a subtle yet poignant way. This is the first time that Manchester has hosted one of these iconic artworks and we hope to welcome many visitors to Wave at IWM North over the next few months.”

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said:

“The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to present Wave at IWM North in this final year of the centenary. We are so grateful to artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper for these two enormously powerful artworks that continue to inspire all who see them.”

To coincide with the end of Wave and Weeping Window’s four-year national tour, IWM has published ‘Poppies: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, the first official book on these iconic sculptures and the original installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red.’ With a foreword from HRH Duke of Cambridge and striking images of the sculptures in all their past locations, the book allows those who have visited Wave and Weeping Window to re-live their incredible journey, and enables those who have not yet had that opportunity to experience it for themselves. It also includes notes from artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, as well as from 14-18 NOW. Released on 6th September, the book is available at all onsite IWM shops and from its online retail store.

The tour has been made possible by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Backstage Trust, the Clore Duffield Foundation and the National Lottery. DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW is delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation. Storage of the sculptures is generously provided by MTEC.


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