Peace is active: it is not merely the absence of war, but something we make together, and decide to maintain. That is to say, it takes commitment – it is not a neutral state.
The United Kingdom has been at war continually since 1936, and as a consequence defines itself by war. So we will have to fight for peace.
Peace is a series of connected but independent works, made by Dan Thompson Studio and including other artists. It will last from 2021 until the artist dies. The first work will take place in Newcastle-under-Lyme, as part of Newcastle Common.
It is, in part, inspired by the Lochnagar Crater on the Somme, and the work of its owner Richard Dunning. If you wish to be involved in Peace, first make this promise:
‘In Remembrance of all those nations who have suffered in conflict
And of thosewho are suffering still
We vow to live our lives with more
Compassion and Kindness
Understanding and Forgiveness
Reconciliation and Unity.
Let us now, in their honour, wage Peace.
Peace is made with thanks to the Lochnagar Crater Foundation.
There are memorials to peace and reconciliation scattered across the UK, mostly unseen and uncelebrated. The Peace Gazetteer is the first dedicated publication to record and list them.
Peace Residency No. 1 – Newcastle-under-Lyme
Pacifist, author, and campaigner Vera Brittain was born in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Her family owned a papermaking business, with mills in Hanley and Cheddleton. As Lead Artist for Appetite’s Newcastle Common, I carried out a two week residency, to explore Vera’s story through her connection with the town (There’s a blog post about that here).
I ran paper making workshops in the shop, to let people make their own paper.
I also commissioned a very limited number of sheets of paper from one of the few papermills still manufacturing in the UK. I’m giving sheets to selected artists, who make work around themes of peace and reconciliation, and bring what they make together for an exhibition.
The residency ran from 1st-14th November 2021, at Newcastle Common, 23 High Street, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs. Newcastle Common is a project by Appetite.