Nestor (Oil on Linen 6″ x 6″) 152mm x 152mm
Exhibited at the Orakei School Art Exhibition 2016
1st of 35 pieces in the new 2015-2018 “A hymn to the immortal deep” series.
The First World war has now passed out of living memory. Only a few scarred landscapes and relics survive today. There are only a very small handful of warships that still exist that saw wartime service- at least this is the case on the surface. Many more still exist, but they are forever hidden out of sight, deep underwater.
These great wrecks have laid silent for a hundred years, their guns still pointed towards the enemy and the tombs of thousands of sailors. Some of these war graves litter the sea bed from the North sea, to the Mediterranean, the Dardanelles and Coronel. Many of the wrecks have never been found.
One hundred years ago, an enormous naval engagement took place off the Danish coast at Jutland. Over two hundred and fifty ships of the British Royal navy and German Kriegsmarine squared off in a colossal naval engagment of steel Dreadnoughts and Battlecruisers.
During the battle, the Royal Navy lost 14 ships, taking over 6,000 souls to a watery grave, and the Germans lost 11 ships and 2,500 sailors.
While the result of the battle was inconclusive with both sides claiming victory, the inescapable fact was that over 8,000 lives were lost, and 25 warships were now at the bottom of the North sea- where they still remain.
The following works breathe new life into these once mighty castles of steel, forever etching the names of the ships and legacies of the sailors who went down in them into the minds of the next generations- so that they are never forgotten.
She’ll hold you like an Angel in the night, but she’ll take your soul and not think twice– Michael Rivers
We can only hope that the warships are now watched by the protective spirits, represented in this series by the swimming figures which if given the choice, would have been manifested by the imaginations of the long forgotten sailors who once lived and are forever entombed in the slowly rusting hulls, wanting their final resting places to be protected and watched so they may rest in peace.
Sadly this is not always the case…