Memory and Remembrance

Kingsley Baird, School of Visual & Material Culture, Massey University
The Cloak of Peace, Te Korowai Rangimarie Heiwa No Manto, Nagasaki Peace Park, Japan
From May to July this year I made an artwork at In Flanders Fields Museum as artist in residence. The work – on exhibition until October 2007 – principally explores memory and memorial forms and relationships between New Zealand soldiers in the First World War and their loved ones at home. En route to Belgium I visited Nagasaki, the site of his 2006 Peace Park sculpture commission. My recent research practice contextualises such artwork in both Nagasaki and Flanders in relation to the two sites and the belief that memorials are necessarily expressions of ambivalence as well as memory.
My work represents a longstanding and continuous engagement with memory and remembrance, and loss and reconciliation, through making artefacts and writing. A significant focus of this work is the expression of a cross-cultural language of remembrance, particularly explored through the unique relationship between – and the shared and distinct nature of – Pakeha and Māori cultures. Examples of my work in this field are the New Zealand Memorial in Canberra (2001, with Studio of Pacific Architecture), the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Wellington (2004) and the international Nagasaki Peace Park sculpture Te Korowai Rangimarie The Cloak of Peace (2006).

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