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On Commemoration

Global Reflections upon Remembering War

Edited By Catherine Gilbert, Kate McLoughlin and Niall Munro

How, in the twenty-first century, can we do commemoration better? In particular, how can commemoration contribute to post-war reconciliation and reconstruction? In this book, a global roster of distinguished writers, artists, musicians, religious leaders, military veterans and scholars debate these questions and ponder the future of commemoration. They include the world-renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz, the award-winning novelists Aminatta Forna and Rachel Seiffert, and the human rights lawyer and Gifford Baillie Prize-winner Philippe Sands. Polemics and reflections together with poetry and creative prose movingly illuminate a subject that speaks to our common humanity.

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A Concretisation of Meaning: Making Memorials (Charles Gurrey with Niall Munro)

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charles gurrey with niall munro

Charles Gurrey is a sculptor and carver who has designed and created private and public commemorative pieces. Here he talks to Niall Munro about how he uses text, possible changes to the way in which lettering is used on memorials, and whether as someone who makes memorials he ever thinks about their future.

niall munro: When you design or create a memorial, how important is it to pay attention to the context in which it’s going to be standing, particularly the surrounding landscape at the memorial site?

charles gurrey: Because all my work is really done to commission, then of its nature it is always a response to something. I mean some people will come with a worked-out brief, not aesthetically, but an idea worked out for what they want. Other people might just say there is a place where they want something to go. There is always a reason or a sort of context or a purpose or an intention behind the commission, even if that has no aesthetic content when it comes to me, which is fine. So with everything I do, the nature of my work is that it has that relevance or place or purpose or it is wanted. So yes, context is critical.

And as I have said in the past, it’s a bit like concrete poetry where the meaning of the poem is in part its physical manifestation, is in part...

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