Ashford Borough Council will commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War with Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: 14-18, an international outdoor photographic exhibition that highlights the global nature of the conflict.
Curated by renowned photographer Michael St Maur Shiel, the exhibition tells of the healed scars of the First World War through our only remaining witness: the fields of battle themselves.
Sheil’s large-scale photographs of battlegrounds of the First World War, including those in Africa, the Middle East, and the Eastern Front, capture how time and nature have created landscapes of beauty, peace and tranquillity where there was once devastation, suffering and loss. It pays tribute to those across the sixty nations that contributed to the war effort, and explores how the world approached peace and reconciliation once the conflict had ended.
Since 2014, this exhibition has been seen by over ten million people across nine countries, and Ashford Borough Council is proud to be sponsoring it in its final year of touring. For the first time, the exhibition will feature stories from Ashford during the First World War, and visitors can learn about local men and women who supported the war effort, both overseas and at home, and discover how the borough coped with the subsequent loss and tragedy. The exhibition will be held throughout June 2018 in Memorial Gardens. Admission is free to visitors.
Cllr Stephen Dehnel, Ashford Borough Council’s Member Champion for the Military Covenant & Ceremonial Liaison said:
“Ashford Borough Council is proud to sponsor this evocative exhibition, which is a poignant tribute to all those who fought in the First World War or worked in support.
“The Borough of Ashford, Kent has rich heritage and strong links to the First World War, it is important we acknowledge and commemorate the sacrifices of the millions of people who died or were injured – and all those who were left behind. We are honoured to be part of the programme and we look forward to hosting the exhibition in Ashford in June.”
Michael St Maur Sheil said: “Many people in the UK don’t realise how many countries were involved in the conflict, so I hope that this ‘Fields of Battle’ exhibition will encourage people to reflect on the meaning of the word ‘world’ in ‘First World War’.
“We should appreciate that people from over 60 nations around the world were involved in the Great War and that, in the same way that we did in this country, they made enormous sacrifices, suffered losses, and felt the impact.”
For more information about the exhibition, or other WWI commemorative events being held throughout the year, please visit the council website: www.ashford.gov.uk