This Armistice Day marks the centenary of Britain's participation in the Great War, a moment which turned the tide of history for all nations. 11 November is a time of reverence and honour, a commemoration of the heroic souls who were willing to give up all for the land and the people they cherished. We are called to reflect upon those who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty and to show our gratitude to those who battled and survived.
Image Credit: Oli Scarff, Getty Images
In memory of the fallen, artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper have created an awe-inspiring art piece to surround the Tower of London: "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" brings 888,246 ceramic poppies to the foot of the landmark, filling the encircling moat with arresting colour. Each of these poppies symbolises the life of a British soldier extinguished by the scourge of the First World War. Like a frozen moment from "In Flanders Fields," the installation is a reminder to the living that we must never let a lost soul be forgotten, and that no selfless offering has been made in vain.
Image credit:PA, The Telegraph
Countless visitors to the Tower have walked among the petals of this humbling piece, including Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Each of the ceramic poppies of "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red" can be purchased, with all proceeds donated to charities that provide support to servicemen and women in the UK.
As an artist whose life took root during the tumult of the Second World War, the echoes of conflict mould my work. As a child, I witnessed the horrors of war ravage my homeland and take the lives of family members, friends, and neighbors. These heartbreaking losses were what led to the formation of Love & Peace, an ongoing sculpture exhibition bringing fiberglass poppies and flowers of goodwill to cities worldwide. I envision these sculptures as beacons in the darkness of strife, symbols of the persistence of beauty and resilience of hope even amid tragedy - they reflect the turbulence of the past but, even stronger still, the aim for a brighter future.
Ana Tzarev's Love poppy sculpture at Canary Wharf, London.
In the 100 years that have passed since that fateful day, humanity has seen such struggle and loss. But the glimmers of hope for a time of peace have never been subdued. In our actions and in our words - on Remembrance Day and all other days - may we always choose the path of understanding.