Exhibit showcases underground element of First World War
As First World War soldiers waited for battle in France, many etched their names or their regimental number on cavern walls or carved images, reminding them of home.
The Canadian War Museum is showcasing, in an exhibit called Preserved in Stone: Underground Art of the First World War, six photographs and six 3-D printed reproductions of the wartime artwork found in tunnels and caves of northeastern France, near Vimy Ridge.
Stacey Barker, historian and curator of the exhibit, which runs until Jan. 7, 2018, said what struck her the most is the range of things soldiers left behind during the First World War.
“They wrote their names. They drew images. They sometimes made very elaborate carvings into the wall,” she said. “Often they would just write their name or their regimental number, maybe their hometown, but sometimes they would draw or etch things that may have reminded them of home.”
The exhibit was developed in conjunction with the Centenary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge, added Barker. She added people viewing the artwork will learn there was an underground component to the war.
“It’s an aspect of the war people might not know as much about. They know about the fighting on land. They know about the war in the air, but this is the war underground,” mentioned Barker. “These are things that the soldiers down there left on the walls as a way of almost memorializing themselves. ‘We were here, don’t forget us.’”
Photographs of First World War soldier graffiti found in France, are part of the Preserved in Stone exhibit, which runs at the Canadian War Museum until Jan. 7, 2018. Des photos de graffitis de soldats de la Première Guerre Mondiale retrouvés en France font partie de l’exposition Gravé dans la pierre, présentée au Musée canadien de la guerre jusqu’au 7 janvier 2018.