Dr Shanti Sumartojo
Flowers of War is a major new installation work by artists Kirsten Haydon (New Zealand), Elizabeth Turrell (UK) and Neal Haslem (Australia). Made up of more than 400 individual handcrafted brooches, the work takes the shape of a wreath two metres in diameter. The individual brooches draw on floral forms, combining them with material representing stories of the First World War drawn from local community archives and museums. Its plurality of forms considers the many ways people reflect upon the past, and as a single object it also speaks to the common experience of grief and memory. Launched in late October, it is an important addition to Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance and will be in place on 11 November 2018. I will focus on this work, the feelings it gives rise to and what it means to people who visit it on Remembrance Day. Combining interviews with the artists, vox pops with visitors and my own impressions and experiences, I will use this exhibit to unfold a series of reflections on the intersection of the cultivation of memory, intensive practices of making and atmospheric spaces, all themes that the work invites us to consider.