After touring to provincial museums in New Zealand, and as did the young men of the provinces a century ago, ‘Victory Medal’ left New Zealand for a sea voyage to Europe. It has crossed the countryside of Northern France and Belgium to the battlefield towns of Arras, and to Mesen/Messines. Right now, it has moved forward to NZ War Memorial Museum in Le Quesnoy for the Centenary. Here it will commemorate all those who served so bravely in the Liberation of Le Quesnoy.
Aligned as in a military cemetery, and positioned ‘Standing To’, the feet are a stark reminder of the reality of war and as such a powerful plea for peace.
'Victory Medal' sculpture installation 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.
In the First World War the New Zealand Division literally marched back and forth and eventually right across Northern France and Belgium and at the end of the war into Cologne.
The sculptor, Helen Pollock’s father was with them, serving with the Division as a signaler.
One pair of feet is polished bronze – a ‘recognized hero’.
But suffering and death are indiscriminate, and there are no hierarchies in suffering and death. ‘Victory Medal’ acknowledges all our heroes: all of those whose lives are lost or blighted by circumstances outside of their control; the men and women who were and are caught up in conflict and wars on our behalf: the men, women and children who suffer from debilitating illness and injury and systemic deprivation and poverty. The consequences of all of these reach across generations. This work is about bringing such matters onto the table.
‘Victory Medal’ will be unveiled in front of the New Zealand Memorial Museum, 3.30pm, 4 November 2018.
NZ Lotteries Commission (in association with the NZ Military Historical Society) and the New Zealand France Friendship Fund for funding assistance in the Victory Medal Tour.
The New Zealand Memorial Museum Trust