Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Commemorating victims of the arms trade

‘Collateral Damage’ an art work which commemorates victims of the arms trade is currently on display at the Westminster Quaker Meeting House, 52 St Martins Lane, London, a few minutes walk north of Trafalgar Square.

Since 1933, when they were first produced by the  Co-operative Women’s Guild,white poppies have been offered as an alternative to the red poppies sold by the Royal British Legion, which some people regard as glorifying war.  Consequently when some  Quakers at their 2017 Yearly Meeting Gathering decided to produce a work to contribute to the Art the Arms Fair, a project to mark the International Defence and Security Equipment arms fair, at the Excel Centre, in London, an event of which many Londoners are deeply ashamed, they decided that it should feature white poppies.  About 500 poppies were produced, each unique and thus symbolising a unique human life.  There are also a number of purple poppies, symbolising the animal victims of human warfare.  Some of the poppies are labelled with the names of victims, and people are invited to make and add more poppies, or attach labels commemorating other victims of the arms trade to a wire ‘fence’.

The Meeting House is open from 10.30 – 13.30 hrs on Sundays, 12.30 – 14.00 hrs on Tuesdays, and from 17.30 – 19.30 on Wednesdays (from 14.30 on Wednesday  4 October); the work is expected to remain on display until the end of the year.

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