Exhibition different way to mark Armistice Day

An exhibition in Dunedin tomorrow will provide  a different way to mark Armistice Day, its organisers say.

Stephen Mulqueen
Stephen Mulqueen

"Armistice Day 11.11.18" will feature the works of sculptor Stephen Mulqueen, who died in June aged 64.

Mulqueen’s well-known work included his redesign of the viewing platform on Motupohue-Bluff Hill, and  his Kuri/Dog work on the harbourside near the Otago Yacht Club, exhibition co-ordinator Stuart Griffiths said.

But  much of his output in recent times had related to the commemoration of World War 1.

Mulqueen’s interest started with research, visiting Flanders and photographing what he saw, as well as exploring battlefield and commemorative sites.

"He felt that 100 years on there really needs to be another way of expressing what that was about."

Rather than memorialising, Mulqueen had been more interested in the emotive side of the event.

Armistice Stamp Show chairman Mark Gellet  looks at postcards sent back from Belgium and France....
‘‘Armistice Day 11.11.18’’ co-ordinator Stuart Griffiths with Sniper’s Prayer, one of sculptor Stephen Mulqueen’s works, at the Athenaeum building in the Octagon. Photo: Craig Baxter
The body of work he developed around those ideas was "probably the most significant body of work made by any artist in the country that I know of", Mr Griffiths said.

"It really became his total focus of the last four years."

Mulqueen was also an early driving force behind the Archibald Baxter peace memorial, which is to be built on a Dunedin City Council reserve at the intersection of George and Albany Sts after the proposed site was changed a number of times.

The exhibition, which includes input from other artists, came about as it was felt Mulqueen would have done something for Armistice Day if he was still alive.

Athenaeum owner Lawrie Forbes suggested the building’s basement as a site to hold the exhibition.

Organisers approached the Mulqueen family, and were loaned items from their collection.

The exhibition included some of Mulqueen’s earlier work.

"We’ve pulled together a lot of remnants of his practice. We really thought it would be well worthwhile celebrating Stephen Mulqueen’s life as a sculptor."

Concerning the exhibition’s opening time of 11am, Mr Griffiths said there would be "another experience happening down at the  [Queens Gardens] cenotaph, which is probably a different type of experience than the one that will be happening here."

The two events were "not opposites, just a different way of reflecting".

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