17 April 2012
progress with poppies this morning
One of the things I am trying to do is keep my brush strokes loose and the general feeling of the works as dusty and uncomfortable as walking in the ruins might have been. This is going against my usual style and I have to keep walking away from the paintings in case I "perfect" things too much.
But the purpose of these works is to highlight the peace poppies, to spread the message of their symbolism, and to show the youth here in Cassino that their town has overcome immense difficulties to be where it is today, even if that is not where ideally it could be.
It is not a question of wanting to saddle these young people with their terrible history, but to invoke in them a sense of compassion, of purpose, and hopefully to highlight to them why Cassino (along with places like Stalingrad, Berlin, Coventry to name a few) should be embracing the concept of being a centre for peace initiatives.
With the front line here for five months, only Stalingrad enduring a few days more, the legacy is a particularly brutal and tragic one which features in history and unites us all. To turn it into something positive is the dream of a small group of historians and community-minded people. With as many as 32 ethnicities in combat here during that time the world really does come to Cassino to reflect on the way forward.
The paintings are progressing slowly but steadily.
Today I am grateful for people with vision.