This exhibition has been commissioned by the U.S. National World War I Museum and Memorial as part of the inauguration of U.S. World War One Centennial Commission’s commemorative programme.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Veterans and their families gathered under the Liberty Memorial this morning to honor those men and women who died in battle.
"The idea behind the photographs is they show lands which were once places of horror and killing, and today, you know, time and nature have healed the wounds of war and they're actually places of great beauty, and great peace and tranquility," said photographer and Keynote speaker Mike Sheil.
As the keynote speaker, he talked about the impact America had on the war. Sheil, a native of England, expressed his honor in being chosen to speak at the ceremony.
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"It was brilliant to meet you. Thank you very much for bringing such an important exhibition to Liverpool to be hosted by Liverpool ONE. Your speech in the Town Hall and tour of the exhibition was so interesting, and the exhibition is stunning. Colleagues and I have been out on lunch times reading all the information, I think we’ll just about get all the way through before it moves to the next venue!"
Generously sponsored by the Royal British Legion this was the first time that a photographic exhibition had ever been mounted in the Guildhall Yard which provided a magnificent setting for a programme of school visits sponsored by the London Stock Exchange group.
Click to the left for a video profile of the exhibition as it appeared in Guildhall Yard, between June 1st and July 3rd 2016. Featuring interviews with Photographer Mike Sheil and Historian Sir Hew Strachan, this short video also includes moving public feedback, together with schoolchildrens' thoughts on the exhibition and the First World War itself.
At the same time, a smaller exhibition, was presented around the City of London in such prominent locations as the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
This exhibition presented the story of the Battle of Verdun and together, the two exhibitions were viewed by almost 70,000 people in just six weeks.
This exhibition was mounted in Belfast in Belfast and Dublin with joint sponsorship from Belfast City Council and the Irish Department of Arts and Heritage. In Belfast it was mounted in the grounds of the City Hall whilst in Dublin it was presented in St. Stephen’s Green, which had itself been a battlefield in 1916.
As a symbol of cross-border reconciliation its success can be judged by the fact that in Dublin the exhibition was transferred to Glasnevin Cemetery where its extended stay meant that the exhibition was on display in Ireland for a total of six months.
The success of the Irish programme with its theme of reconciliation emerging from commemoration and which was created in partnership with the Causeway Institute for Conflict Resolution, is a matter of great significance for all parties.
Forming part of Belfast City Council’s wider ‘Decade Of Centenaries: Reflections On 1916’ programme, Fields of Battle Lands of Peace was outside Belfast City Hall between July and August 2016.
In April - August 2014 the exhibition was hosted in Paris by the French Sénat on the railings of the Jardins du Luxembourg where it was seen by over 2.1 million people during this four month period.
A subsequent exhibition was mounted with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and with the kind permission of The Royal Parks in St James’s Park, London, where 4.7 million visitors were recorded between August and November. This figure represented a 25% increase in visitors to the park over the same period for the previous year.
The exhibition then travelled to Nottingham City Centre where it was on display to the public between September and November as a central component of the City's 'Trent to Trenches' commemorative events programme.
In April 2015, the Turkish government commissioned a special exhibition for display in Istanbul and Ankara to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign.
In addition to the SOMME100 exhibitions in London and Ireland, in collaboration with the French Mission Centenaire 14-18, during 2016 we created an exhibition on the Battle of Verdun. Its location on the Champs Elysées in Paris created an exhibition viewing of over 600,000 before it moved to the City of Verdun for the formal ceremony of reconciliation between President Hollande and Chancellor Merckel.
Fields of Battle 14-18 is registered as a not-for-profit charity in the UK. It exists purely through the generosity of the public together with securing corporate sponsorship and grants.
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The original concept of the late broadcaster, historian and author, Professor Richard Holmes, it took photographer Mike St Maur Sheil eight years to complete the photography for Fields of Battle.
View a short video on the inspiration behind Michael St Maur Sheil's journey capturing the emotional and historical heritage of landscapes which witnessed the monumental events of the
First World War.