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Image credit: ‘We will remember them’: pen & ink drawing: Val Racher

As we approach November and Remembrance Day, Val Racher is preparing for her exhibition at the pocket art gallery at The Bay Hotel, Pevensey Bay. She will be the ‘featured artist’ for the month.

Val explained ,”with the theme of remembrance the artwork will commemorate the sacrifices made in both world wars. A series of pen and ink drawings will include reference to all branches of the armed forces. Some of the drawings will also include words taken from WW1 and WW2 poems and the poppy will feature throughout the series”.

Val pointed to the resilience of visual remembrance. “the red poppy is the enduring symbol of remembrance of the First World War and is a potent symbol of our remembrance of the sacrifices made in that conflict. Once the fighting in the trenches of Flanders, Belgium was over the red poppy was one of the few plants to grow on the otherwise barren battlefields.

She added, “the significance of the red poppy, as a lasting memorial symbol to the fallen, was realised by the Canadian surgeon, John McCrae, in his poem ‘In Flanders Fields’. American humanitarian, Moina Michael, wrote And now the Torch and Poppy Red, we wear in honor of our dead... and she campaigned to make the red poppy a symbol of remembrance for those who had died in the war.

The background to the red poppy becoming the symbol and lasting memorial in this country, she explains, dates back to 1921. “Artificial red poppies were first sold in Britain in 1921 to raise money for the Earl Haig Fund in support of ex-servicemen and the families of those who had died in the conflict. These were made in France but In 1922 the British Legion founded a factory, staffed by disabled ex-servicemen, to produce its own. It continues to do so to this day and the red poppy continues to be sold to raise money and to remember those who lost their lives in the first World War and in subsequent conflicts.”

“Purple poppies”, she adds  “are worn to honour animals killed in conflict”.

Val will be at the Bay Hotel every Monday afternoon throughout November when the exhibition is on display.

The October edition of the Art Journal from Pevensey Bay, the magazine that Val edits, is now be available and can be collected from the following outlets: in Pevensey Bay from The Bay Hotel, 1066 Store, Ocean View Bakery; in Eastbourne from Henry Paddon Gallery, gnt.gallery, Eastbourne Framing Centre; in Herstmonceux from The Mathouse, from The Lamb Inn at Wartling and In Perspective at Bexhill-on-Sea.