“It took 300 of us a year to make 888,246 flowers. We sprayed them red and counted them. Then the Beefeaters counted them. This was vital – every lost soldier had to be represented.”
Installation artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper created a flood of blood red poppies through the “Weeping Window” of the Tower of London to commemorate the death toll of 888,246 lives that were lost in the bloodbath of World War I. The idea came to Cummins accidentally when he was visiting the local library and came across the will of a woman of Derby who, disguised as a man, went to fight in the World War I and died. It was said, “Blood swept lands and seas of red where angels fear to tread.”
The poppies were selected for their relation to war and remembrance. Each flower was unique: made of ceramic to representing the transience and fragility of human life and each of its six petals represented some charity to be supported afterwards from the money collected from selling the flowers. A large number of volunteers took part in planting the flowers; one of them was an injured soldier from Afghanistan. To him, the planted flowers represented his lost friends. The planting itself took four months and became a form of performative art.
The artist designed the “Weeping Window,” so that the people coming out from the tube station could see the flood of blood red poppies. The second section, “Wave” was seen from the other side of the river. The sight created an overwhelming response from people.
The “Weeping Window” and the “Wave” were donated to the nation and will start a national tour on March 14, 2018, as reported by The Guardian.