A sculpture created by a group of blacksmiths in Kitchener, Ont. is on its way to Belgium to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele on Friday.
Sandra Dunn and her team at Two Smiths were commissioned by Veterans Affairs Canada several weeks ago to create an interactive sculpture that was unveiled in Ottawa to kick off Veterans' Week on Monday. It was then shipped to Belgium, where it will remain in a museum.
The team at Two Smiths designs and builds architectural ironwork, furniture and sculptures that are forged using different metals like copper, steel, aluminum and bronze.
"I think the act of commemorating is a really important one and there are all kinds of ways that we remember things and I think it's important to recognize that we make choices about stories to tell and to remember," Dunn told Andrew Coppolino, guest host of CBC Radio's The Morning Edition.
During the ceremony in Ottawa, messages of peace and remembrance by Sherry Romando, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Finance, Governor General Julie Payette and 150 students from the Encounters with Canada program were incorporated into the sculpture.
Creating the sculpture
This sculpture wasn't Dunn's first Remembrance Day piece. In 2015 she led a project that involved blacksmith groups across the country forging poppies for part of a large war monument in Ypres, Belgium.
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For the 2017 piece, Dunn and her team spent over 40 hours designing and forging the sculpture.
It consists of a metal base forged and textured to look like a muddy path with three bronze disks, representing identification soldier tags and made to look like they are sinking into the mud. Each disk has a line from the Act of Remembrance that says "We shall remember them" in English, French and Dutch.
Dunn also mentioned the sculpture has three poppies made to look like they are growing from the muddy base. A rectangular slot was cut out to insert the 200 hand written messages from Monday's ceremony in Ottawa.
"I'm hoping that the idea of loss will be conveyed by the bronze disks that are sinking in the mud and that there is a sense of hope," Dunn said.
"And that people actually look through the messages that have been written in the cards and gain some sort of understanding."