Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2022
LEICESTER has been chosen as one of five UK cities to feature in a prestigious commemorative project reflecting the conflicts since the end of the First World War. Leicester Museums and Galleries is part of the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, a national program of 22 artist commissions inspired by the legacy of the conflict and created in partnership with the Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW, the UK arts program official for the Centenary of the First World War.
City museums have received £250,000 from the Imperial War Museums project, which involves a series of world-renowned artists working with local partners to create specially commissioned works of art to commemorate the legacy of the conflict .
Leicester’s commission will commemorate its role as a sanctuary city, with a major public artwork inspired by the stories of local people affected by the upheaval and displacement caused by the conflict.
Details are expected to be announced later this year about which artist will work with Leicester Museums and Galleries on the project. The commissioned works are expected to be exhibited to the public in 2023 and 2024.
Building on over 100 years of IWM commissioning contemporary art, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund also continues the vision and scope of 14-18 NOW, Britain’s official First World War centenary arts program which engaged 35 million people, worked with 420 artists from 40 countries and staged projects in 220 venues across the UK, with 600 partner arts and heritage organisations.
The project is partly funded by £2.5 million in royalties from the breathtaking First World War feature film They Shall Not Grow Old, in which acclaimed Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson painstakingly restored and digitized archival footage of life on the Western Front.
Alongside Leicester there will be major commissions in Derry/Londonderry, Gateshead, Swansea and Glasgow, as well as smaller commemorative projects involving a total of 22 artists working with 20 cultural organizations across the UK.
The City of Leicester’s Deputy Mayor for Culture, Leisure and Sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: ‘We are very honored that Leicester has been included in the Imperial War Museum’s NOW Legacy Fund project, which will involve a significant work of art commemorating all those whose lives have been upended and displaced by armed conflict.
“Leicester has a proud history as a city of sanctuary, which is as relevant today as it has ever been, with refugees from Afghanistan and Ukraine among the last to seek safety and rebuild their shattered lives here.”
Artists already confirmed for the project include Iraqi-American artist Michael Rakowitz, who will develop a new commission at the BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, Turner Prize 2022 nominee Heather Phillipson, who will work with Glynn Vivian Art Gallery in Swansea, and Glasgow artist Cathy Wilkes who will work with the city’s Hunterian Gallery.
In Derry/Londonderry, the University of Ulster Commission will reflect on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023 and see leading French contemporary circus collective Compagnie XY work with local communities on a new performance.
Two additional commissions of £250,000 on IWM sites are due to be announced later this year.
Alongside the five main partners and the two IWM commissions, 15 member organizations of IWM’s network of specialists in war and conflict subjects will receive smaller grants of £20,000, including a range of universities, galleries, local authorities and social enterprises.
Diane Lees, Managing Director of IWM, added: “IWM is delighted to be working in close partnership with such a range of UK organizations on this ambitious art commissioning programme.
“After a challenging few years for the arts sector, we hope the unprecedented opportunities made possible by the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will reignite cultural dialogue as we recover from the large-scale impacts of COVID-19.”
Since World War I, IWM has worked with artists to record experiences of conflict for its collections. The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund also extends the vision and reach of 14-18 NOW which, during the centenary of the First World War, engaged 35 million people, worked with 420 artists from 40 countries and staged projects in 220 locations across the UK, with 600 partner arts and heritage organizations.
Jenny Waldman, former Director of 14-18 NOW and now Director of Art Fund, said: “More than half of the UK population have engaged in the 14-18 NOW program of extraordinary art commissions, demonstrating the power of the art of engaging new audiences and opening conversations about war and conflict.
“Thanks to the generosity of Peter Jackson, whose film They Shall Not Grow Old was a program highlight, the 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund will build on this vision and reach, providing exciting opportunities for artists, organizations and communities across the UK.”
Tim Marlow, IWM Trustee and Chairman of the IWM Arts Commissioning Committee, and Director of the Design Museum, added: “Since World War I, the IWM has worked with artists to record the experiences of Conflicts.
“He continues to commission new works from contemporary artists, reflecting past and present conflicts. The impressive roster of artists selected for the 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund builds on this history, fostering collaboration and creativity to interpret conflict in new and empowering ways.
The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund commissions will be on public display across the UK between 2022 and 2024.
The second phase of Expression of Interest applications is open to members of IWM’s War and Conflict Subjects Network from today until September 1, 2022.
To apply and for more information on the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, please visit their website here.
For further press information and interview requests relating to the IWM 14-18 NOW fonds, please contact: Hannah Carr, Head of Communications (Exhibitions and Programming) at the Imperial War Museums, HCarr@iwm.org.uk, 07581 622 157
Notes to editors:
IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund
The IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund is a national program of 22 artist commissions inspired by the legacy of the conflict and created in partnership with the Imperial War Museums (IWM) and 14-18 NOW, the official arts program of the Kingdom United for the centenary of the First World War. .
To mark the end of the centenary of the First World War, Imperial War Museums and 14-18 NOW have worked together to co-commission the critically acclaimed film They Shall Not Grow Old by Oscar winner Peter Jackson, which was seen by nearly 5 million people worldwide. . Following the film’s unprecedented success, 14-18 NOW and IWM have agreed that a portion of the film’s royalties will be used to support a new artist commissioning program, the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund. A total of £2.5million is being made available to artists and cultural organizations across the UK.
Through the IWM 14-18 NOW Legacy Fund, IWM is now working in partnership with 20 cultural organizations across the UK to commission 22 ambitious new works of art inspired by the legacy of the conflict and created by world renowned contemporary artists and emerging. These new commissions will create new opportunities for artistic engagement, bring art to the public in new and relevant ways by connecting people, places and experiences, and rekindle cultural dialogue as we recover from the large-scale impacts of COVID-19. The commissions will be on public display across the UK between 2022 and 2024.
IWM (Imperial War Museums) tells the stories of people who have lived, fought and died in conflicts involving Britain and the Commonwealth since the First World War.
Our unique collections, made up of the everyday and the exceptional, reveal stories of people, places, ideas and events. Using these, we tell vivid personal stories and create powerful physical experiences in our five museums that reflect the realities of war as both a destructive and a creative force. We challenge people to look at conflict from different angles, enriching their understanding of the causes, course and consequences of war and its impact on people’s lives.
The five branches of IWM which attract more than 2.5 million visitors each year are IWM Londonthe flagship branch of IWM which recently transformed with new permanent and free WWII and Holocaust galleries; IWM Northhoused in an award-winning landmark building designed by Daniel Libeskind; IWM Duxforda world-renowned aviation museum and Britain’s best-preserved wartime airfield; Churchill War Rooms, housed in Churchill’s secret headquarters under Whitehall; and the World War II cruiser HMS Belfast.
14-18 NOW was a program of extraordinary art experiences connecting people to the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations between 2014 and 2018. It commissioned new work from leading contemporary artists plan in all art forms; the program included over 420 artists from 40 countries, taking place in over 220 locations across the UK. 35 million people have gone through the programme, including 8 million children and young people. 14-18 NOW has won numerous awards for its work.
14-18 NOW has been supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, by DCMS, and with additional funding from The Backstage Trust, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Clore Duffield Foundation, British Council, NatWest and support from individuals.
IMAGE: Artist rendering of 2018 colorized footage – THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD by WingNut Films starring Peter Jackson. Original black and white film © IWM.