My Subject is War (2015)
Multi-disciplinary visual arts project ‘My Subject is War’ took place in Warrington from January – September 2015. Commissioned by Culture Warrington and Warrington Borough Council with additional funding and support from Arts Council England, the project explored the role that Warrington played in the First World War (1914-18) through a series of illustrated window murals and an exhibition of drawing and animation.
The project began with participatory workshops involving three community groups from the local area – the output from these projects was then incorporated into the design of the two murals. The first mural located at Contact Warrington in the centre of the town was printed on to vinyl with additional hand-drawn scenes created on-site during a ‘live art’ event held in March 2015. The work in this mural mainly focuses on war propaganda, industry, hospitals and the typical ‘Tommies’ kit. Illustrations by two of the workshop groups (Creative Remedies and Oakwood Avenue Primary School) are also featured in the vinyl design.
The second mural located at Golden Square shopping centre, also in the town centre, was produced over two ‘live-art’ events held in April and May 2015. The mural was completely drawn by hand on-site using Posca pens. The first part of the mural, drawn in April, depicts scenes from the Second Battle of Ypres – a battle that involved a number of Warrington regiments and local men. The dates of the ‘live-art’ event coincided with the anniversary of this battle making the imagery even more poignant. The second part of the mural is more heavily focused on hospitals and home-life with images contributed by Bewsey Local History Society playing an important role.
My Subject is War was supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. The project was also funded by Warrington Borough Council and Culture Warrington and was part of the First World War Centenary Partnership led by Imperial War Museum.
Photos and film by Tony Culpin.