In November, the National Memorial Arboretum’s offered educational workshops for schools that focused on themes of Remembrance. The sessions explored the concept of Remembrance, emphasising its significance not only in November but throughout the entire year. The workshops delved into the symbolism of the poppy and other flowers associated with Remembrance from around the world. Over 500 students had the opportunity to engage in activities related to poetry and symbolism.
During the session, students collaborated with a visual artist to craft flowers of Remembrance using recycled materials such as bottles. Their creations encompass daisies, poppies, cornflowers, and other symbolic representations. This engaging process provided the children with a deeper understanding of the flowers’ significance and the art of employing symbolism.
These unique creations will be featured as part of Flowers of Remembrance, an installation that will be showcased at the Arboretum as part of this year’s Illuminated Arboretum and will remain open into the New Year. The artworks will have a soundtrack backdrop created by Arboretum poet in residence Dan Simpson using the words and thoughts of the young people.
Flowers of Remembrance is one of three projects lead by the Arboretum, that incorporate the arts, culture, history, reflection and Remembrance together. The projects have engaged over 650 participants through Flowers of Remembrance, Archway of Hope and the Windrush Path of Illumination.
The Archway of Hope is a luminous, indoor willow arch adorned with willow insects and animals that reflects the Arboretum’s diverse wildlife. With light softly illuminating the arch, visitors will experience the connection between nature and reflection, fostering a sense of hope and harmony. With guidance from Willow Artist Nita Rao, the artwork has been crafted in collaboration with three community collectives; International Women’s Group, Liberty Group and Burton Social Prescribing Group.
The final installation, the Windrush Path of Illumination is a tribute to the Windrush generation and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the HMT Empire Windrush on UK shores. The path, which will feature along the Illuminated Arboretum route, metaphorically traces the footsteps of those who embarked on this journey.
Participants from Birmingham’s Nechells Outreach Centre and Pannel Croft Village conceived and crafted the images that represent their personal reflections, memories and emotions. They share the impact the Windrush movement had on their lives as individuals, a community and on society. The piece will be accompanied by a soundtrack of newly composed songs by Ken Burton ‘Across the Seas’ and ‘We Honour You’, sung by Black Voices and local choirs.