On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, the guns fell silent. A new world was born in the aftermath of global conflict.
From a cancelled national monument, to symbols sewn in to football shirts, explore the causes and controversies of remembrance from challenging new perspectives.
The First World War caused casualties on a shocking and unprecedented scale, with the human cost of the war becoming one of its defining legacies. Lest We Forget? provides an understanding of how that cost in lives, has directly influenced how we see the ‘Great War’.
From a photograph showing the selection of a body for The Unknown Warrior to the original Joey puppet from the National Theatre production of War Horse, the exhibits in Lest We Forget? consider commemoration of the war as a fluid concept, one which spans intensely personal mantelpiece memorials, grassroots community tributes, state rituals and memorials, as well as popular movements and cultural outpourings.
On display are several iconic paintings commissioned by the British government in 1918 from some of the nation’s most prominent war artists intended for a First World War memorial gallery – the Hall of Remembrance – which was never built.
Ten works from this memorial are united including renowned paintings by Paul Nash, Stanley Spencer, Wyndham Lewis and John Singer Sargent, whose painting Gassed returns home from its two-year international tour.
These works are shown alongside over 180 objects, photographs, film clips, sound pieces and documents, which together explore how symbols of commemoration from the poppy to the two minute silence have endured for a century and at times sparked controversy.
Lest We Forget? is part of Making a New World, a season of innovative exhibitions, installations and immersive experiences at IWM London and IWM North which explore how the First World War has shaped the society we live in today.