At the Going Down of the Sun.
Inspired by the Laurence Binyon poem “At the Going Down of the Sun”, the photographs were taken between the hours of dusk and dawn. This nocturnal approach as well as recording the graves also shows the subtle indicators of contemporary human existence such as light pollution and car, plane and satellite trails. These act as a metaphor for our continuing relationship with the people in the graves so that we can ask questions about why and how we remember those taken from us by conflict.
The range of graves photographed includes a wide range of ages, races and faiths. Of considerable importance was the opportunity to capture female war graves that told the stories of women as acting participants, civilians and widows.
Patriotic pride and shame is also examined. For example a 1914 grave that confidently states the belief “My God, My King, My Country”, is contrasted with the unmarked grave of a Conscientious Objector.
Nine of the images in the exhibition will be accompanied by QR codes. These will provide links to oral histories spoken by people who knew those buried. These reveal the humanity of those individuals’ lives. The participants include the widow of a Gulf war veteran, the grandson of a WW1 Conscientious Objector and Blitz survivors.
Bristol Cathedral is an appropriate space for this exhibition. It is a graveyard and site of memorialisation. The opportunity to raise memorials to the “ordinary” people of Bristol within architecture that is dedicated to the “great and good” will be a fitting tribute to their extraordinary sacrifice.
The exhibition has received Heritage Lottery Funding and is supported by the following organisations: - Bristol Cathedral, Bristol City Council, Clifton Diocese, Bristol Hebrew Congregation, Weston-super-Mare Town Council, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Royal British Legion, Bath and North-East Somerset Council, a number of church parishes, The Flash Centre/Elinchrom, Loxley Colour, Digitalab.