The Armistice Centenary Public Art Project

To commemorate the sombre and significant 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which marked the end of World War I, the government of Queensland Australia commissioned a state-wide art installation made up of 245,000 handmade poppies.

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Insight

Three metres high, 2.5 metres wide and 24 metres long, the Armistice Centenary artwork was a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by the country’s servicemen and women in the war.

Comprised of thousands of paper poppies crafted at over 300 community workshops, the artwork honoured the 57,705 Queenslanders who enlisted in World War I. The people of Queensland also created personalised poppies tributes online – these were incorporated into a virtual reflection pool and displayed during the Armistice Centenary commemorations in Brisbane alongside the final art installation.

Solution

Pico’s collaborative process generated a creative concept that met all the client’s needs while giving the general public an emotive reason to both contribute to and visit the finished artwork.

The base of the artwork was built of marine grade plywood and was painted by our scenic artists to look and appear like a solid sandstone plinth. The paper poppies within each letter needed to look organic and flower-shaped, so a design was created on red paper that, when cut out and folded, would form a natural flower shape. All handmade poppies were created from 100% recycled paper, while all timber and steel used was recyclable.

Results

A fundamental client requirement was that all citizens of Queensland could contribute to the project. While a limited number of people could physically make their own poppy – either by attending one of the community workshops or receiving a template through the post – through the clever use of technology, we allowed anyone to make their own ‘digital poppy’ online. We developed a branded microsite that let users create, personalise and add their own virtual poppy to the interactive reflection pool and share it on their own social profiles. This technology also allowed us showcase tributes in digital format which prevented too many paper poppies from being created. When the REMEMBER artwork was displayed in Brisbane, the digital poppy tributes floated across screens for people to read and reflect upon, creating a stunning and lasting impression.

Today, the final artwork is in storage. A permanent display will be created in 2021.

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