Ulster Museum the Site for Captivating Poppy Display

Weeping Window sculpture will be installed as part of next year's Belfast International Arts Festival and ongoing First World War commemorations

The Ulster Museum will present Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies. The installation will be at the Ulster Museum from October 14 to December 3 2017, following a joint proposal by National Museums Northern Ireland and Belfast International Arts Festival.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, will give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. 

The Ulster Museum houses Northern Ireland’s national collections of art, history and natural science. In 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Ulster Museum opened a new, permanent ‘Modern History’ gallery.

The Decade of Centenaries period, from 1912-22, is at the heart of this gallery, in recognition of the significance of this period in shaping the future, outlook and identities of what was to become Northern Ireland. The First World War and its aftermath are explored through social, cultural, political and military history. 

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said, 'The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to take them to Northern Ireland for the first time in 2017, where Weeping Window will be presented at the Ulster Museum, in partnership with the Belfast International Arts Festival. Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.'

Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland, said, 'We are delighted that this powerful and deeply moving sculpture will be coming to the Ulster Museum. As well as enriching Northern Ireland’s cultural and artistic landscape, this spectacular piece of art will also play a role in deepening our understanding of the First World War and sense of shared history during this pivotal period.  The Weeping Window will be a very special addition to our extensive Decade of Centenaries 1912-22 programme.'

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Richard Wakely and Kim Mawhinney

Richard Wakely, Director of the Belfast International Arts Festival, said, 'We are delighted and honored to have confirmation that we will co-host Poppies: Weeping Window which will be a cornerstone of next year’s Belfast International Arts Festival programme.

'This project continues our cultural reflection on the importance and legacy of the Decade of Centenaries and the First World War in particular, which started this year with contributions from Taylor Mac, Fearghus Ó Conchúir and Matthew Green.

'We appreciate that this is an opportunity for people throughout Ireland to experience this wonderful ceramic sculpture and we will work in partnership with other organisations to promote community initiatives that enable a greater understanding around the history of the First World War and what it means to Ireland today.'

Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

The two poppy sculptures being presented across the UK, together totaling over 10,000 poppies, have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums. Financial support for the presentations has been received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and fundraising for the presentations is ongoing.

DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.