Linda Dearden

Linda Dearden – Artist


When I first began researching World War I, and Craven’s part in it, I found the images of Soldiers in silhouette form very emotional.  The back drop of mud, marshland and trenches and the simple images of the Soldiers with their back packs and guns marching in lines with the sky behind make for a powerful and dramatic story.

My love of painting flowers my research into the work of Monet, and his response to World War I, led me to a starting point. How could he paint such beautiful colourful paintings with so many terrible things going on around him?

I began to think about the emergence of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.  The remembrance poppy was inspired by the World War I poem “In Flanders Fields”. Its opening lines refer to the many poppies that began to grow in the churned-up earth of Soldiers graves in Flanders, a region of Europe that overlies a part of Belgium. The previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again turning it to fields of mud where little or nothing could grow except the poppies, whose seeds had lain dormant and were reactivation by this upheaval.

The inspiration for this exhibition has come from reading other poems written at the same time, from factual information about the war and from my own thoughts about the horrors of the trenches and battlefields.  I wanted to look at other artists and discovered Paul Nash and Otto Dix, who’s first hand experiences of these atrocities have become dramatized in their work.

I have used real flower petals on my canvas to create a 3D effect. I liked the idea of immortalising the leaves and the petals and enabling the viewer to touch them. I felt that using old raw pallet wood for the frames brought the paintings to life and enabled them to become part of the trenches in this installation.