graphite and watercolour on hot pressed watercolour paper
56 x 76 cm
Poppies are weeds. They are tenacious and thrive in harsh conditions, and love the opportunities found in disturbed earth. They are also beautiful, transient and, for Australians and New Zealanders, a strong link to wars past and present in faraway places. On Anzac Day 2020, not only were our two countries separated, but also states, families and neighbours. Yet, like poppies, many found myriad creative ways around the barriers, to not only survive but adapt and thrive during a pandemic, and celebrate Anzac Day faithfully.
That a completely foreign flower can unite disparate Australians and New Zealanders inspired me to bring together all the Australian and New Zealand national and state floral emblems with the Flanders Poppy, using graphite and watercolour on paper.
Over centuries of art, flowers have been assigned varied symbolism. I appreciate them for their astounding variety and intricate construction. They remind me of the cyclical nature of life, death and rebirth. I also enjoy their strange combination of fragility and toughness. Their beauty is actually the result of adapting to their often harsh environments.
Everyone should stop and smell the flowers once in a while. Remember, one person’s weeds are another person’s Anzac poppy.