LIBERATION 75: FREEDOM NOT FORGOTTEN – online

THE GUERNSEY ARTS COMMISSION IS PROUD TO PRESENT LIBERATION 75: FREEDOM NOT FORGOTTEN, A COMMUNITY PROJECT TO CREATE A PUBLIC EXHIBITION.

In 1945 the Islands of Guernsey felt the relief of Liberation from the occupying forces. This momentous day has been celebrated annually by all who live (or have lived) in the Islands, and still has significant meaning to all.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of that most important day. The intention has been to celebrate bigger and better than ever in order to honour those who lived through it, those who fought for us and those who died for us to receive a freedom that not everyone has available to them.

Events this year has given the world just a small glimpse of how the lives of some of those living through the Occupation may have been, with all our lives having had to change. Despite this, we still remember. We remember what was faced by those living through the Occupation, and how incredible the feeling of freedom as a result of Liberation must have been. We also remember that whilst we, in the Islands, have been fortunate with the freedom that we retain, this is not the story across the world.

We asked our community to respond in whatever medium they chose to a simple question – After 75 years of freedom, what does Liberation mean to me? The purpose of this brief was to keep it open and allow everyone to respond as they wished. The number of participants has been exceptional, and as a result we have been able to curate this exhibition which shows off the talents and feelings of the people living in Guernsey today.

Aaron Yeandle

Pallium

Pallium, delves into the past, present and the future, of the act of reminiscence and celebration of Guernsey’s liberation in 1945. Once a year people attend the Hanger Ball and can transport themselves back to the 1940s and dress up in period clothes, military costumes or a combination of these themes to create a unique fancy-dress costume. The Hanger Ball is a unique way to celebrate 75 years of freedom and how this has impacted our society in a positive and forward-thinking celebration of independence.

Maurice Redvers Sangan

Charlie Buchanan

Returned

Bobby Scott (nee Edmonds) who returned to the Island in August 1945 after 5 years of evacuation, and her great grand-daughter Beatrix. 75 years later Bobby still talks about that return and what it meant to her.

Gill Harrison

Free like the Wind

This painting was inspired by a photograph I took one Liberation Day a few years ago. The celebrations centred around the harbour, where the liberating forces had been welcomed by the islanders 75 years ago. The focus of the joyful scene was this huge sail, dancing untethered life a flag, free as the wind.

BearFootDoctor

(Colin & Agnès Perry)

In July 1940, Lieutenant Desmond Mulholland of the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry, together with Lieutenant Philip Martel of the Hampshire Regiment, were secretly smuggled to Guernsey in a submarine. Both were residents of Guernsey who had joined up on the outbreak of war with Germany in 1939. They were under orders from Winston Churchill to reconnoitre the then occupied island and to act as guides for a planned commando raid. Eventually they were forced to surrender. As they were captured in military uniforms rather than civilian clothes, they were imprisoned instead of being shot.

The Uplifting Thoughts of Desmond Mulholland

Gillie Revill

New Beginnings

A modern flag – with four cameos celebrating freedom, following the liberation. 1) The Watchtower sits, oppressive but abandoned. The discarded helmet symbolises the Occupiers’ departure. 2) A baby donkey kicks up his heels for joy in a spring meadow… a sign both of rebirth and Guernsey’s iconic symbol of stoic stength (and stubbornness!) 3) ‘The Morning Glory” was a family fishing boat subjected to German control during the Occupation – now Free to Fish all Guernsey waters. 4) Free to Farm: This faithful old 1930’s Fordson tractor was forced to do the Oppressor’s bidding – after liberation, farmers were free to work the land again for the Guernsey people.

Sally Robert

 “As I grew up my mother told me the story of the Union Jack she and her neighbour made when the war was over. When my mother passed I decided to create a poem about an occupation story by the late Elaine Machon” – Sally Robert 

John Le Messurier

Tears of joy

The storm clouds of the last five years are being dispersed by the sun. Relief by the Vega is in sight and there is hope for the future. The eye sees all this and sheds a tear of joy.

Vivien Ferneyhough

Assimilation

With The Guet as the setting this art work shows how nature is slowly assimilating the concrete structures of German Occupation into the landscape and the past.

Nigel Byrom

Reminiscence and Remembrance

Parts of different photographs [all my own] combined [in photoshop] to create a surreal image, imagining the effects of fading memory and reminiscence, on loss, the human cost of occupation, liberation and freedom.

Lynn Cherry

Island Home

The Liberation of Guernsey from the German Occupying forces on May 9th, 1945, has impacted every local family in some way over the years; so I am showing our beautiful home, adorned with flowers, as it is at this time of year, especially on the cliffs, while we ‘Donkey’s’…(familiar name for locals due to our inherent stubbornness), proudly fly our own flag, not only to celebrate 75 years of freedom, but always.

Zoe Sargeant

Guernsey Donkey – Needle Felting – pure wool

The donkey is such a good and humble representation of a true Guern… Stocky, stubborn, hard working and strong, but above all else determined – determined to kick out invaders and to rule over our own beloved island home

This poem was first written by Zoe Sargeant about her dear mum Christine Osborne for the 70th Liberation celebrations and exhibited at the West Show. Christine and her two “little sisters” Linda and Gwen (nee Bourgaize) are now 90, 87 and 85. The memories of their time in Glasgow, the islands liberation and their repatriation are still sharp in their minds. When Zoe asked Christine recently to sum up “liberation” in one word she closed her eyes, smiled and said “HOME”

Karen Winter

Out of Bounds to Boundless Fun! – Wool felting picture

Perched over once forbidden beaches, the austere concrete sentinels of our shores, now watch over fishing, sand castles, children and oodles of ice cream!

Collabaration by Service Users of Recovery and Wellbeing, Oberlands Adult Mental Health Service.

This series is a collaboration of work by the service users at Recovery and Wellbeing, and Horizons (Oberlands). The theme was responding to the bunkers still visible on the island. The artworks enable these individuals to express their response to these memories of WW2 in the year 2020 using their choice of content and materials.

Nicholas Rowe

Sara Serafin

A New Dawn – Oil paint

A seascape depicting the beautiful landscape of Guernsey that we are free to enjoy, alongside the structural reminders of darker times that must never be forgotten. My Great Grandparents were sent to (and returned from) Biberach concentration camp, my Grandparents were in service and my parents were child evacuees, so I never forget the sacrifices made by so many to secure our freedom.

Susan Banfield

Sinister Sea Mist – Digital photograph

Grey and sinister this direction-finding tower looms menacingly up through the morning sea mist. The fortifications were built by foreign laborers who were conscripted to the island, from all over occupied Europe. In May 1943 the archives tell us there were some 5,100 living in temporary camps scattered throughout the island. At the same time there were 13,000 German personnel. 17,000 of the 40,000 islanders were evacuated in 1940.

Brutalist Architecture – Digital Photograph

From the tranquility of Lihou Island the brutal architecture of the Occupation is an imposing and ever present reminder to all generations of Islanders. Concrete monstrosities which continue to dominate our beautiful Island headlands.

As Free as a Bird

After the grey years of the occupation, of uniforms, of concrete fortifications, closed beaches and seashore. Contrast the bright sunshine of freedom. Turquoise sea, green grass, blue skies of being as free as a bird: Liberation

Shelley Greenfield

Guernsey 75 Years of Freedom – Oil paint

Showing the freedom we have in Guernsey compared to the curtailed freedom the islanders had during the occupation. Each subject is related inside of the number 75 in colour compared to restricted freedom during the occupation depicted in tonal grays outside the 75.

Jeni Snell

Hideaway – Oil, acrylic and household paint on canvas

Fort Saumerez playfully towers sandwiched between two stylised ceramic deer ornaments. I passed this previously German observation post twice a day on the school bus. My grandmother collected ceramic ornaments and proudly displayed them in a glass cabinet in a room in the house reserved only for special occasions. I have combined these two childhood memories. The symbolism of these innocent kitsch fawns standign proud as two bookends is intended to undermine the brutality of war and imposed occupation.

Sexuality – Oil, acrylic and household paint on canvas

A L’Ancresse German bunker towers out of a surreal imaginary landscape. Kitsch ceramic ornaments; a doe and her two fawns, hang out in the foreground. Combining childhood memories of playing in the bunkers of La Houguette Primary School playgroup which was build on part of the ‘Mighty’ Mirus Battery, and my wonderment at looking inside my grandmothers glass cabinet at her collection of ceramic ornaments (and hinting at, to a large extent, the failure of artificial camouflage) my intention is to undermine the brutality of war and imposed occupation.

James Colmer

Point of View – Acrylic on canvas

A German observation tower up on Pleinmont. A further painting I did off the back of a mural I did up at the PEH at the Roussel Ward for dementia. For more information see http://jamescolmer.com/portfolio/roustel-ward-mural/

The Draughtsman – Watercolour on paper

The story of Conrad Gries, a German officer based in Alderney.  A tale I got inspired about on a visit to Alderney museum. I have now donated the original to the museum. The story can be found here… http://jamescolmer.com/portfolio/reflections-occupation/

Richard Fleming

Agnès Perry

JOY – Mixed medium (collage)

This collage was inspired by the many testimonies that I collected. Those who have shared their recollection of the Guernsey German Occupation evoke the overwhelming explosion of jubilation at the proclamation of the Liberation. ‘The cheering was tremendous. It was like awaking from a nightmare of want and fear and walking into a generous warmth of liberty‘ (Leslie ROUSSEL, WW2 People’s War Archives)

Irena Mcelwee-Roman

Wendy Shapcott

Feeling liberated

My piece is based on my reflections of what has changed in Guernsey over the 75 years since the German occupation. I have very much based my work on start of the occupation, the dark days, and this is shown with grey and muted colours. As the years have progressed the colours fade from dark to more vivid colours showing how the Island has become a happy and idyllic place to live. I wanted to impress on the viewer how I feel about living on Guernsey and what it is like to witness the transition.

Nancy Smith

Free Speech

During the Occupation all wirelesses were forbidden and confiscated. Many islanders made little crystal sets and kept them hidden to listen to the BBC war news. There was no contact between the islanders and the evacuees until later when the Red Cross arranged for some letters which were censored by the Germans. Whenever the evacuee families met together in England they always sang Sarnia Cherie, a melancholy song expressing their longing to return home.

Russels Day Centre

MEMORIES

‘Would you share a wartime memory’? our older folk were asked,

 wise eyes and worn lips smiled and gave short snapshots of those times past.

We’ll record them as they’re given, not force poetic form

Repeat the hard-given memories of each child’s time in war.

A pattern soon emerges as memories roll back years

A list of child-like recall, of sights, smells, sounds and fears.

My first taste of Bananas, going to the soup kitchen, sweet rations, tins of milk, nettle tea, apple fruit, corned Beef, hops, ripe tomato, smell of boiled potato skins, eating my pet rabbit, screaming doodle bug, silence,  air raid siren, exploding windows, airplane engines, rumbling trains, smell of trains and metal bomb explosion, sleeping under tables, running to the air raid shelter, patterns of search lights, unexploded bomb on the roof, being thrown over a wall to next doors shelter, Neville Chamberlain on a Bakelite radio declaring  War, marching feet, two brother’s finding a German dinghy and a mine that went off, German soldiers in our kitchen putting their large gloves on our oven, being picked up and frightened by a German soldier, only to be shown a photo of his son, leaving by boat with Mum and leaving Dad behind, prisoners, Trams passing The Royal Hotel, travelling at five years old, Cousin had a baby by a German

‘Would you share a wartime memory’? our older folk were asked,

Wise eyes and worn lips smiled and gave short snap shots of those times past.

By Day Visitors of the Russels Day Centre, Guernsey Voluntary Service

Charlie Hynes

La Mare de Carteret High School

Hannah Livestro

The Ladies’ College

Harry Snell   

Elizabeth College

Carmen Walsh  

The Ladies’ College

Sebastian Banneville  

Elizabeth College Junior School

Zoe Collins

Melrose

Lara Veillard 

Melrose

Annie Le Ray

Melrose

Lucie Jackson  

St Martins school

Guernsey College

of Further Education

Brandon Carberry

Caitlyn Le Patourel

Fin Trebert

Caitlyn Le Patourel

 Laura Morfett

Kelsey Burtenshaw

Logan Gomez

Millie Le Patourel

Tiegan Thornborrow

Hemu Khankashi

India Besnard

Erin Ogier

Demid Winterflood

La Mare De Carteret

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