Public encouraged to contribute to origami art installation at National Memorial Arboretum

The new art project forms part of the Arboretum’s programme of events to mark the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele.

  • Date

  • Location

    The National Memorial Arboretum, Stafforshire

Members of the public are being urged to visit the National Memorial Arboretum to help with the construction of a new mass-participation art installation that commemorates the sacrifice made by the British Armed Forces, and their families at home during The Battle of Passchendaele.

Running until 10 November, ‘Heartfelt Messages’ uses the medium of origami together with handwritten personal messages to create an emotional display in tribute to the communications that flowed between soldiers on the front line and their families during the conflict.

Left to right: Liz Blood (Head of Heritage and Learning, National Memorial Arboretum), Nicola Colclough (Artist), Kathryn Rogerson (Exhibition Officer, National Memorial Arboretum)
Left to right: Liz Blood (Head of Heritage and Learning, National Memorial Arboretum), Nicola Colclough (Artist), Kathryn Rogerson (Exhibition Officer, National Memorial Arboretum) 

The Battle of Passchendaele was one of the most significant battles of the First World War and its notoriously muddy conditions directly led to the loss of lives as soldiers drowned in the quagmire caused by extensive shelling.

Maintaining the morale of soldiers was critical and written communications with loved ones at home was a crucial crucial part of this.

‘Heartfelt Messages’ by Nicola Colclough and Naja Baji aims to capture the spirit in which messages of love are sent between those on the front line and their families at home, asking thousands of people to help produce the artwork; crafting the origami hearts and hand writing messages when they visit the Arboretum. The completed hearts are being combined into an imposing installation in the Arboretum grounds.

‘Heartfelt Messages’ will build on the success of the hugely popular Somme: En Masse installation that graced the Arboretum last year, featuring thousands of decorated wooden soldiers, each one commemorating a soldier who fell on the first day of the Somme. ‘Heartfelt Messages’ will be on display until 10 November 2017.

Sarah Oakden, Head of Marketing, National Memorial Arboretum, said: “We are proud to be hosting this unique tribute to those who fought in The Battle of Passchendaele and their families.

“Nicola and Naja’s multi-sensory installation gives visitors the opportunity to express themselves artistically while performing an act of Remembrance, leaving a personal tribute to those who gave their lives in one of the First World War’s most memorable battles.”

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