Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

To mark the 100-year anniversary of the beginning of WWI, English artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper created a public art installation, entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red in July of 2014. The installation featured 888,246 ceramic poppies, which were installed in the moat area of the Tower of London in England. The moat area around the Tower of London was chosen specifically, it was once used as a training field for those from the City of London who volunteered to fight in WWI.

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Each of the 888,246 ceramic poppies were sculpted and painted by hand to represent the number of British citizens who were killed during WWI. Each poppy was then mounted onto a stake and “planted” into the moat area of the Tower of London. The installation was split into several zones around the Tower to create visual interest. Because of the press attention the installation received, portions of the installation traveled around the UK until the end of November 2018, marking the 100-year anniversary of the end of WWI.

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The poppies that didn’t go onto the UK-wide tour were sold to members of the public for £25 each, garnering at least £15 million in sales. The proceeds from the sales of the poppies was split among 6 English charities.

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Another public art installation opened on November 11, 2018 in Munich, Germany that is in a similar vein to the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation. Called “Never Again”, German artist Dr. Walter Kuhn created 3,500 red fabric poppies that are installed in Konigsplatz square. Each poppy is about the size of an umbrella, and is planted deep into the soil, and is reinforced with wood blocks to make the installation weather proof.

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