NZ'S FIRST WORLD WAR CENTENARY 2014–2019

Victory Medal sculpture installation - Helen Pollock

A sculptural work in memorial to the grievous losses of the First World War and a reflection on the idea of 'victory' in war. Exhibiting in New Zealand and Europe.

‘Victory Medal’, Wellington Botanic Gardens: Sculptor Helen Pollock

Artist's statement

‘Victory Medal’ honours our forebears who fought in the First World War; those who died and those who returned with their lives blighted and shortened by the experience of war. ‘Victory Medal’ acknowledges all of our heroes.

Thirty six pairs of feet, the number of a small platoon, stand on a rusted steel ‘medal’ in four sections, creating a cross formation. The feet are moulded from rough unprocessed New Zealand clay into a ‘cohesive fighting unit’. They are torn, distressed and fired under intense heat over a period of three days, and permanently altered and hardened. They are sinewed foot-sloggers' ‘feet’.

One pair of feet is cast in bronze – a ‘recognised hero’. - Helen Pollock

Touring details

Touring in New Zealand, Belgium and France over the four years of the First World War centenary, thanks to the NZ Military Historical Society and funding from the Lottery Grants Board.

Tairawhiti Museum Gisborne: Opened 25 July to 21 September 2014

Toitū Settlers Museum Dunedin: 1 February to 1 May 2015

Nelson Provincial Museum: 16 April to 12 June 2016

Wellington Botanic Garden - Remembrance Ridge: 9 September to 13 November 2016

In mid-November 2016, as did the young men of the provinces a century ago, Victory Medal will leave New Zealand from Wellington for the sea voyage to Europe. It will cross the countryside of Northern France and Belgium, to the three battlefield towns of Arras, Messines and Le Quesnoy.

Arras, France: March to June 2017, Place des Heroes, commemorating the Battle of Arras on 9 June and the NZ Tunnellers at Arras.

Messines, Belgium: June 2017 to February 2018, Town Square commemorating the Battle of Messines on June 9
La Basse Ville, July 2017
S’Gravenstafl, Bellevue Spur, Passchendaele, October 2017
Polderhoek, December 2017 and final withdrawal of the New Zealanders from Belgium February 1918.

Le Quesnoy, France: 4 November 2018 onwards to commemorate the liberation of Le Quesnoy by the NZ Division

The tour has the endorsement of the Kingdom of Belgium, and former Prime Minister Helen Clark, Auckland RSA, and the NZ Military Historical Society.

It has received endorsement and funding from the New Zealand France Friendship Fund for World War One Commemorations and New Zealand Lotteries Commission.

'Victory Medal’ is emotionally and physically accessible for personal commemorations, and public ceremony. The short ‘Victory Medal’ publication accompanies the tour. It may be developed into a larger publication from writing and photos specific to each destination accumulated throughout the tour.

As a commemorative sculpture ‘Victory Medal’ has important and established links with its predecessor, ‘Falls the Shadow’ permanently installed at the Passchendaele Memorial Museum as part of the new extension, developed in partnership with the New Zealand Government.

Victory Medal short film
Click on the image to view full size
‘Victory Medal’, Fort Takapuna: Sculptor Helen Pollock
‘Victory Medal’, Fort Takapuna: Sculptor Helen Pollock
'Victory Medal', RSA Blessing Tairawhiti Museum
'Victory Medal' ceremony for Le Quesnoy, November 2010
This activity is being worked on from
25 July 2014
 to 
2018
Date added: 23 September 2014 | Last updated: 23 September 2016

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