Imperial War Museum – Manchester

| March 26, 2012 | 0 Comments
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Imperial War Museum – Manchester

This is a fab place to visit; we would highly recommend this exhibition to you.  It’s good from not only a history point of view but has been updated to incorporate people’s views and personal experiences of war today.  The exhibition has all the right ingredients to keep families entertained.  We bought the guide book and currently it’s free to get in.  From an artist’s point of view it has pretty good art there too.

Here are some our pictures of the exhibition.  It’s great when places allow you to take pictures because they you can pick out and choose what is personal to you.  War to me, is terrible but sometimes a necessary evil to sort out the world today in my opinion.  For the people who’s job it is to defend countries it’s pretty overwhelming to hear their stories on the projector which bounces off the walls.  This exhibition lets the audience experience personal tragedies as well as victories. With colourful well designed booklets and brilliant sets this is a quite amazing experience, we enjoyed it so go and check it out for yourself. Below are some photographs of the exhibition which we thought may interest people to go and visit the exhibition for themselves.

By Helen Rowlands

The Crusader by Gerry Judah

This is a Scale model of The Crusader, the sculpture created by artist Gerry Judah for the Reactions series of artist interventions.   In the exhibition space there is a larger version that makes an eerie sculpture.



About The Crusader, 2010, by Gerry Judah

The Media used is Mixed.  Artist Gerry Judah’s new sculpture The Crusader is a personal response to global conflict.  It is his comment on modern wars while also resonating with the history of the world conflict.  The work has been commissioned as part of the Reactions series at Imperial War Museum North, a programme which encourages artistic response to the themes, architecture and collections of the Museum.

The towering sculpture is covered by a network of war-damaged buildings.  War towers communication wires and satellite dishes can be identified amongst the debris.  This devastated urban landscape echoes the themes within the Museum’s architecture of a world shaped by conflict.

“The Crusader combines the contradictions that preoccupy me as an artist.  It explores the violence of conflict against a perceived righteousness of purpose.  The beauty of the sculpture contrast with the darkness of the subject matter”. Gerry Judah, 2010 for more information about this artist.

If you want to read more about the Imperial War Museum

A National Collection

The Imperial War Museum was established in 1917, during the first World War.  Since then it has collected stories about people’s experiences during war and conflict.   Today, the Imperial War Museum is still adding people’s stories to the vast collection of art, sound, film, photography, documents and objects. 1914-1918, the first World War sweeps across Europe.  People from around the world are drawn in.  Eight million die in the battle; thirteen million civilians also die.  Hunger and defeat spark widespread revolt.  The scale of sufferings affects people’s view of war forever.

Remembering 9/11

On 11th September 2001 the World Trade Centre in New York was hit by two airliners hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists.  The Twin Towers collapsed flowing the impact.  The Union Flag below was found amongst the ruins and was presented the people of Great Britain.  A third hijacked airliner was flown into the Pentagon in Washington DC.  Another crashed in rural Pennsylvania.  In total, nearly 3,000 people were killed that day.  The majority of the victims were civilians and included nationals of 70 countries.  The events of 9/11 shocked and changed the world forever and the legacy is still with us today.

I personally watched the events of 9/11 unfolding live  on a TV in social services, at Bedfordshire County Council.  Unwittingly I was picking up some paper from the office at the time and found everyone staring at the TV in horror.  I ran back and told the rest of the office and we all watched it in terror.  We all thought that America would be getting out the big guns, i.e. nuclear war, and we thought it would change our life significantly, and some people thoughts were to move to  save themselves, Scotland came up as a good place to hide.  Fortunately none of what our imaginations came true and for the people gathered around the TV, life goes on as normal.  Here is the Union Jack below:


The Steel Section from the Ruins of the World Trade Centre

The level of destruction makes it impossible to tell what exactly this section of the building was located.  Steel columns, like those shown in the photograph are believed to have come from the outer wall of the North tower.  This section shows damage caused by the collapse of the building, rather than the impact of the crash itself, it is composed of three boxed columns of 5mm thick steal that were joined together by flat steel plates along the length of the columns.


Above are Ruins taken from the World Trade Centre.

Nazi Golden Eagle and Swastika Emblem

This Nazi emblem shows an eagle an eagle clutching a garland of oak leaves

Between 1933 and 1945 the combination of eagle and swastika was the official emblem of Nazi Germany.  The emblem appeared on almost all uniforms, military and regimental flags, standards, passports, coins and other public images.

The eagle was adopted as the national emblem of Germany in 800AD.  Hitler regarded the spread-eagle as an Aryan symbol.  The swastika, a word derived from Sanskrit, was traditionally a sign of good fortune and wellbeing.  Hitler chose the swastika or hakenkreuz (hooked cross) as the emblem of the National Socialists in 1920.  The oak tree represents strength and an ability to survive to a great age, virtues esteemed by military organisations.

We picked as to go into this article, because it’s shiny and gold and this photograph is a remarkable sculpture, with the shadow behind the eagle it certainly does look grand and menacing at the same time, a bit like the Roman empire.

The Death Cart, 1980 – 1982

By Edith Birkin

Acrylic on canvas

Edith Birkin and her family were sent from Prague to the Lodz ghetto in 1941.  This is one of many paintings she later produced to record her experiences there.

Edith’s parents died in the ghetto within a year of their arrival.  In 1944 she was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp then to a labour camp in Eastern Germany where she worked in an underground munitions factory.

In March 1945 she was sent to Bergen-Belsen camp and was liberated the following month.  She returned to Prague and later settled in England in 1946.  It was here she began to paint.  The bleak, wide-eyed faces in this painting capture the sense of loneliness and desperation experienced by so many in the ghetto.

“I involved a pictorial language, that enabled me to put my visions on canvas…. I wanted to show what it felt like to be a human being in the starved emaciated, strange looking body, forever being separated from loved ones.”  Edith Birkin describing her art work. The reason we chose this picture is its because it’s so ugly, with death everywhere, very personal to Edith the artist, it certainly looks horrifying to live through.

 Over 20,000,00 Russian servicemen, servicewomen and civilians were killed during the Second World War.

Over 404,244, Servicemen and servicewomen from Britain, the Empire and Commonwealth were killed during the Second World War.

Over 73,884 People were killed in Nagasaki on 9th August 1945 when the second atomic bomb was dropped on the city.

Over 33,771 Jews were murdered at Babi Yar near Kiev in the Ukraine over two days in September 1941

Over 17,000 Polish school teachers were murdered by Nazis between 1939-1945

593, People were killed in 29 air attacks on Manchester between 1940 and 1944.

6, Americans were killed by bomb attacks in North America 1944 and 1945.



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Category: Art Reviews