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PEACE CAMP: A coastal installation

Cemaes Bay joins Cultural Olympiad as Welsh site is chosen for Deborah Warner’s artwork 26 Mar 2012

PEACE CAMP: A coastal installation
Cemaes Bay

Cemaes Bay has been selected by director Deborah Warner as a site for her commission for the London 2012 Festival, created in collaboration with actor Fiona Shaw. Peace Camp is a series of glowing encampments that will appear simultaneously at eight of our most beautiful and remote coastal locations ringing the UK through four nights, from 19-22 July 2012. Visitors to the sites will explore the glowing encampments of tents softly illuminated from within, and hear a soundscape created by composer Mel Mercier drawing on the great love poetry of our islands and the sounds of the natural environment.

From today, Fiona Shaw is inviting people from all over the UK to take part and create an audible portrait of the nation in its Olympic and Paralympic year. Everyone can nominate a favourite love poem to be uploaded, or record lines of love poetry on the Peace Camp website: www.peacecamp2012.com. The contributions made from homes, schools and workplaces will build a snapshot of the nation’s loves, reflecting the languages, accents and dialects of every corner of the UK, as well as our rich poetic tradition. There is the chance for the recording to be included in the final artwork, and the entire website will be archived for posterity by the British Library.

Peace Camp is a co-commission by the London 2012 Festival and Derry-Londonderry 2013. It is produced and delivered by creative company Artichoke, whose previous projects have included Lumiere Durham, Antony Gormley’s commission for the Fourth Plinth, and The Sultan’s Elephant. Partners include Arts Council Wales, Literature Wales, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, and the National Trust.

Peace Camp is hugely ambitious in scope. Across the country the artworks will be set against some of the most breathtaking scenery of the UK coastline, including five National Trust sites: Cemaes Bay in Anglesey, Wales; White Park Bay in County Antrim, and Mussenden Temple in Downhill Demesne, County Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland; Valtos on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, and Fort Fiddes in Aberdeenshire, Scotland; Dunstanburgh Castle in Northumberland; Cuckmere Haven near Seven Sisters in Sussex; and Godrevy Head, Cornwall.

Warner’s commission is inspired by the United Nations Olympic Truce, which calls on countries worldwide to lay down their arms for the duration of the Olympic Games. As dusk begins to fall, the artworks will flicker to life, encircling the UK in a symbolic call to peace.

Warner is known internationally for the grace and beauty of her work, which ranges from the great works of opera and theatre to installations such as The St Pancras Project, The Tower Project, and The Angel Project, which was seen in London, New York and Australia. She has collaborated frequently with Fiona Shaw, one of Britain’s finest actors, whose work includes theatre, film, television and opera. Their acclaimed production of TS Eliot's The Waste Land has been seen all over the world.

A schools project will run alongside Peace Camp to engage young people in this nationwide discussion about the poetic language of love. In Wales, local artist Cefyn Burgess will work with a local poet with students at Ysgol Syr Thomas Jones, in Amlwch, Anglesey to make their own tent installation, filled with specially-written poems. The finished tents will go on public exhibition and host live poetry events in the areas local to the secondary schools, before travelling to London’s Southbank during October 2012 where all the tents will be displayed together as part of National Poetry Day celebrations.

Deborah Warner said: "Above all, Peace Camp is a celebration of our astonishing coastline and great poetic tradition. With the idea of quiet contemplation and pilgrimage at its core, the project was inspired by Olympic truce, the ongoing call by the United Nations for all warring nations to lay down their arms for the duration of the Games."

Fiona Shaw said: "Over these next months, I want to celebrate the unsung poetry of everyday. I hope people across our islands will send me their poems, and recordings, and write poems to those they love, so that we can make a virtual Peace Camp online. These islands have a strong tradition of poetry, of capturing human experiences with words. In moments of true love or painful parting, all that’s unimportant falls away and language is laid bare. We quote poets in times of need, borrowing their fragments of feelings; all of us are poets when we are in love."

Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival, said: "When the eyes of the world are on us this summer this commission for the London 2012 Festival will bring international attention to eight of our most beautiful and remote coastal locations around the UK. I’d like to join Deborah Warner and Fiona Shaw in calling for people across the UK to submit their recordings of love poems to be part of this London 2012 piece of art."

Peace Camp Locations

Cemaes Bay, Anglesey, Wales

Cradled in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cemaes sits at the heart of the country’s Welsh-speaking region, overlooked by the oldest church in Wales, Llanbadrig, or the Church of St Patrick. Gravestones in the churchyard in both Welsh and English bear witness to this community’s stormy relationship with the sea below.

White Park Bay, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

White Park Bay is a spectacular beach forming a white arc curving between two headlands on the North Antrim Coast. At the eastern end of the sweeping bay lie the many rocky volcanic islands that surround Ballintoy harbour, while the western end leads to the tiny fishing village of Port Braddon, home to St Gobbans, allegedly the smallest church in Ireland, and used as a cowshed until the 1950s. These days cows graze on the wild flowers that grow on the beach.

Mussenden Temple and Downhill Demesne, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland

Mussenden Temple is located in the beautiful surroundings of Downhill Demesne near Castlerock in County Londonderry. Built in 1785 by the extraordinary Frederick Augustus Hervey, Bishop of Londonderry and Earl of Bristol, the temple is set on a 120 ft cliff top. The temple was built as a summer library and its design is inspired by the Temple of Vesta in Tivoli, near Rome.

Fort Fiddes, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

The rocky promontory of Castle Point reaches out into the Moray Firth with its crystal clear sea and vast red sandstone cliffs. It is a site of huge archaeological importance: the ruins of this 18th century fort the latest evidence of habitations that stretch back to 700BC. From the end of the Fort, views across the coast reveal the tiny fishing village of Pennan, made famous through the 1980’s film Local Hero, while the Moray Firth is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds including puffins, fulmars, shags, kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills, and for the North Sea’s only known resident population of bottlenose dolphins.

Valtos/Bhaltos, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland

The white shell sand of the beach at Valtos forms a perfect teardrop shelter from the incoming might of the Atlantic Ocean. Set in bleak terrain that leads from Stornoway past the enigmatic 5000-year old Calanais/Callanish standing stones, the historic presence of ancient peoples is as pervasive here as in the rest of island of Lewis and its native Gaelic language. With its population of 35 inhabitants, the village of Valtos is the largest in the parish of Uig, where the 12th century Lewis Chessmen were found following a storm in 1831.

Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster, Northumberland, England

Built in 1313 by the Earl of Lancaster as a symbol of his rebellion against the King, Dunstanburgh Castle was once one of the grandest fortifications in all England. Today it the UK’s largest ruin, defended on two sides by a sheer cliff and the crashing sea. Turner was so inspired by his only visit to the castle that he returned to it again and again in his paintings.

Cuckmere Haven, near Seven Sisters, Sussex, England

For many, this stunning landscape epitomises the very essence of the English coast. The river Cuckmere winds its way through wide flood plains, twisting and turning before emerging onto the pebble beach at Seaford Head. With its clutch of iconic coastguard cottages perched high above the sea, the site provides far-reaching views along one of England’s most famous white chalk cliffs. Its peaceful picture-postcard perfection conceals a murkier history of smugglers and conflict, while in a nearby field a poignant WWII memorial quietly remembers the troop of Canadian soldiers who were annihilated by German bombers making their way to London using the huge river estuary as a navigational aid.

Godrevy, North Cornwall, England

Godrevy Head sits at the north end of St Ives bay with its vast and Atlantic rollers pounding into the white sand beach. Only three miles further out to sea, Godrevy Island takes the full force of the gales sweeping in from the Atlantic. The beach is one of the most popular in Cornwall attracting surfers and walkers as well as literary pilgrims. Although Virginia Woolf’s 1927 novel To the Lighthouse was set in the Outer Hebrides, Godrevy lighthouse is believed to have provided the inspiration for the book during Woolf’s many family holidays in Cornwall. Just as the Ramsay family never make their picnic on the island, Godrevy provides an unattainable destination for visitors to the Peace Camp installation.

The use of all locations is subject to the permission of landowners, tenants and other interested parties. Artichoke reserves the right to make changes if necessary.

For further information please email: sian.james@artswales.org.uk

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