National Memorial Arboretum enhances artistic credentials with new partnership

Published on: Tue, 21/12/2021 - 17:01

National Memorial Arboretum enhances artistic credentials with new partnership

The National Memorial Arboretum, in Staffordshire, has forged a new artistic partnership with sculptor Jill Berelowitz to create an immersive new Remembrance space adjacent to the Royal British Legion Poppy Field.

Jill has a track record of constructing ambitious, large scale works that articulate her personal experiences and are infused with a positive and often spiritual feel. Taking inspiration from the stories behind the more than 400 memorials at the Arboretum, and the surrounding natural environment, Jill will create a new sculptural piece cast in bronze to be nestled within a new wooded glade. This sculpture will feature personal dedications, to loved ones or to mark special occasions for celebration and Remembrance. From Spring 2022, people will be able to commission these beautiful leaves and figurative elements of the sculpture ahead of its unveiling in summer 2022.

“Jill has created some incredibly moving and evocative sculptures,” said Chris Ansell, Head of Participation and Learning. “We’re confident that this partnership will result in a striking and thought-provoking piece of art to sit at the heart of our new Remembrance space, complementing the hundreds of existing beautifully sculpted memorials constructed from a diverse range of materials. From the outset, we wanted to find a partner who could produce not just an imposing sculpture, but provide a new avenue for people to remember their loved ones with individual tributes. We look forward to sharing further details about this exciting initiative in Spring 2022.”

People wishing to register their interest in having a dedication in the new Remembrance space should visit www.thenma.org.uk/dedications  

Art and cultural enrichment are a key part of the Arboretum’s offering, with three exhibition galleries within the award-winning Remembrance Centre. Landscapes of Life, a permanent installation that provides an introduction to the Arboretum and explores the evolution of the concept of Remembrance, is complemented by a pair of temporary exhibitions which are used to explore a wide variety of historical, cultural and artistic themes.

Grayson Perry: A Line Crossed, on display until 30 January 2022, showcases a pair of tapestries by the Turner Prize winning artist that investigate the repercussions of 9/11 and the resulting conflict, the effects on those who fought to keep us safe, and the consequences for those displaced by the chaos. The tapestries were first shown in the 2014 National Portrait Gallery exhibition ‘Who Are You?’, exploring the ways in which human identity is changed and adapted by our experiences and circumstances. Visitors are encouraged to add their own reflections and memories to an interactive display in the exhibition.

Meanwhile, Wild Arboretum, on display until 13 March 2022, features a series of prints by lino-cut artist Gerard Hobson that capture the essence of the many animals, trees and fungi that can be found at the Arboretum. The works encapsulate how the Arboretum is a living, breathing memorial and one of the pieces was directly inspired by the site and created specifically for the exhibition.

“Our galleries hosting a mix of temporary and permanent exhibitions are a fantastic place to warm up after a crisp and invigorating walk around our 150-acre site,” said Ansell. “The constantly rotating programme of expressive art inspires visitors to contemplate the landscape of the Arboretum and our hundreds of memorials in different ways while showcasing an array of stunning pieces from household names as well as some of the best-kept secrets of the UK art scene.”

Activity Packs for younger visitors accompany Wild Arboretum, tasking them to track down wildlife motifs on memorials, play biodiversity bingo and fold wildlife inspired origami. Containing a sticker trail and activity and craft booklet, the Wild Arboretum Activity Pack can be purchased for £2.50 from the Welcome Desk on arrival.

The exhibitions at the National Memorial Arboretum are free to enter for all visitors to the 150-acre garden and woodland site. Pre-booking via the Arboretum website is recommended to guarantee entry https://thenma.org.uk/visit-us/plan-your-visit/book-tickets