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Poppies artwork on display for Remembrance Day

With the 100th anniversary of World War I being commemorated in 2015, members of South Australia's ACH Group arts community used poppies as a moving and meaningful way to remember the people who lost their lives in war and those who served all around the world.
Standing left to right is Colleen Fowler, from War Widows Guild, and Deputy Commissioner for DVA Ian Kelly. Sitting left to right is war widow, Thelma Zimmerman, and veteran, Chantel Evans.
Standing left to right is Colleen Fowler, from War Widows Guild, and Deputy Commissioner for DVA Ian Kelly. Sitting left to right is war widow, Thelma Zimmerman, and veteran, Chantel Evans.

ACH Group customers, families, staff and volunteers joined together to contribute more than 3,500 poppies as part of their involvement in the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival.

Inspired by the ‘5000 poppies project’ in Victoria, the SALA committee, comprising customers and staff, decided on poppies as a key focus for community remembrance of the 100th anniversary of World War I, a hope for peace and the shared experience around the world of the impact of war.

“As a provider of services to the veteran community we wanted to honour their service, and local legacy groups, war widows groups, partners of veterans groups and local church and craft groups became involved, showing how deeply connected we are to this anniversary,” says Lenore de la Perrelle of ACH Group.

In total there were 79 individual knitters, and 13 groups, some with as many as 50 knitters (both within ACH Group and in the local community).

“We provided the opportunity for people to write a dedication along with their poppies – these were reproduced and hung along with a poppy made by that individual as part of the SALA display," she says.

The originals of each dedication, plus accompanying poppies, have been sent to Melbourne to form part of the Federation Square display for Anzac Day 2015.

Installations were developed as part of a group process, led by community artist Helen Crawford, who curated the exhibition. These were digitally processed by artist Lawrence Wilkes, and laser cut from steel.

The artwork was on display at ACH Group’s central office in Mile End until the end of September. In the lead up to today's Remembrance Day, part of the display has been
moved to ViTA at the Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park and part of it to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Blackburn House, located at 199 Grenfell Street.

The Department of Veterans' Affairs Deputy Commissioner SA, Ian Kelly, says the poppy display is a symbolic reminder as we approach Remembrance Day, of the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women who have served our nation in war, conflicts and peacekeeping operations in countries far from home.

“I would like to thank ACH for giving the DVA South Australia Office the chance to showcase these remarkable poppies at Blackburn House and encourage those interested to come along and view them over the next month,” Mr Kelly says.

“It is important that we continue to remember those who have served, and continue to serve, ensuring their legacy lives on, and their stories continue to be told, for generations to come.

“With this Remembrance Day being the first in the Anzac Centenary period, it is important to remember not only those who served during the First World War but all those who have followed in their footsteps in the hundred years since.”

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