A live choral piece at the National Portrait Gallery, and a BBC documentary about Jeremy Deller’s modern memorial We’re Here Because We’re Here are among the major art commissions taking place as part of a season of memorial events to mark Armistice Day on November 11 and the end of the Battle of the Somme on 18 November.
Organised by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, the season of memorial works accompanies the ongoing tour of the iconic poppy sculpture Weeping Window, which is on display at Caernarfon Castle in north Wales, until 20 November. The sculpture, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tim Piper, is a cascade of thousands of ceramic poppies flowing from the ramparts of the castle to the ground below, and originally formed part of the hugely successful installation at the Tower of London.
On Saturday 12 November, the National Portrait Gallery’s professional choir in residence, The Portrait Choir, will perform Memorial Ground, a new piece of choral music by Pulitzer Prize-winning and Oscar-nominated composer David Lang. This special out-of-hours performance at the National Portrait Gallery at 7pm will include a reading by poet Jackie Kay and extracts from Parry’s Songs of Farewell.
On Sunday 13 November the story of We’re Here Because We’re Here will be told for the first time in a new BBC Four documentary. This live war memorial took place across the UK on 1 July 2016 to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme. The event was conceived and created by Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller in collaboration with Rufus Norris, artistic director of the National Theatre, and saw hundreds of volunteers dressed as First World War soldiers appear unexpectedly in areas across the UK. The work was commissioned by 14-18 NOW and produced by Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the National Theatre in collaboration with 23 organisations.
Visit 14-18 Now for a full programme of events.