This is one of the Peace Plates created by James Bloomfield to mark the 226 global conflicts since the conclusion of the First World War – supposedly the “war to end all wars”.
James, who lives and works in Manchester and studied Art at Manchester Metropolitan University, has exhibited nationally and internationally. He has been artist in residence at Salford Museum & Art Gallery and the Working Class Movement Library.
The 226 commemorative ceramic plates signify every war since the end of World War 1 with each plate recording when a particular war was fought and the number of fatalities. The plates were created with help from over 75 volunteers during a week's mass participatory workshop at Salford Museum & Art Gallery café.
The launch of James's “In Service” project, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, was held at the Library on 31 July 2017 when Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, gave a talk on new wars and how to prevent them.
The plates themselves have been used at the Art Gallery's café - thereby presenting the findings of the research to visitors literally on a plate! The project ran until 10 November 2017 when the plates were “decommissioned” to coincide with the centenary of the end of the battle of Passchendaele.
Three of the plates are on loan to the Working Class Movement Library, including this one created to commemorate the Vietnam War.
This was fitting as the Library has an extensive archive relating to the Vietnam War and, in particular, the North West Campaign for Peace in Vietnam and its fund-raising contributions towards the British Hospital in Vietnam.
The Campaign was surprisingly active in the market town of Ulverston, Cumbria, and this was recognised after the war ended when the Vietnamese ambassador and two attachés visited Ulverston to express their appreciation.
There's more about the project on the Library blog here.
Kath Grant, volunteer