Year-long celebration of peace created by Emergency Exit Arts launched with unveiling of large-scale mobile artwork by Robert Montgomery

In the year we commemorate the 1918 Armistice, as global and local calls for peace continue to shake our social and political landscape, renowned outdoor arts company Emergency Exit Arts will shed light on the legacy of treaties, the fragile nature of peace and the strength of the communities and individuals who work to sustain it.

Year-long celebration of peace created by Emergency Exit Arts to launch with unveiling of large-scale mobile artwork by Robert Montgomery
Photographer Alex Bamford

Paper Peace, a year-long programme of art and events commenced tonight with a mobile art installation, a 14-foot-high illuminated poem, commissioned from leading conceptual artist and poet Robert Montgomery. The Scottish-born, poet, artist and sculptor is known for his spectacular site-specific installations created from light and text, which he has exhibited across Europe and Asia.

Robert Montgomery’s artwork, a striking illuminated Peace Poem mounted on a mobile platform was revealed in central London tonight 12 November 2018 and will be seen by thousands as it travels along motorways to five towns and cities across England. (details of destinations) In each destination, partners that include arts and heritage organisations, local museums and archives will pick up the baton for the next stage of the project, a national creative heritage project exploring post-WWI archives using the collections of regional heritage partners.

Local museums and archivists will share their collections related to peace acts throughout history with the public, who will be invited to take part in a variety of activities exploring ways of achieving peace globally as well as building peace within their communities and to share personal experiences of conflict and peace. The National Partners are Creative Scene, Dewsbury; B Arts, Stoke on Trent; City Arts, Nottingham; and Vivacity, Peterborough. Heritage partners led by The Peace Museum (Bradford) are joined by the Museum of the Mercian Regiment (Nottingham), Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery and Mid Staffordshire Military Appeals Tribunal Index. Through Paper Peace, these important archives and oral histories will be brought together in a central digital archive and learning resource.

Additionally, Paper Peace will unearth the history of peace activism with a new generation with the Paper Peace Young Producers programme, inviting 48 young adults aged 18 to 25 to take part in training with arts practitioners and museum experts. The Young Producers will gain skills in curatorial and event production, learning to interpret a variety of historical sources from the past century and connecting with peace-building heritage in their local area. This will include commissioning professional artists to design and create artworks that will form part of the Paper Peace finale events.

The year-long project will conclude with finale events in each of the destination towns and cities during autumn 2019, which will see streets and town centres transformed by large-scale artworks, commissioned by the Paper Peace Young Producers.

Speaking about Paper Peace, Emergency Exit Arts Artistic Director Deb Mullins said

“A couple of years ago, when I was asked to think about the WWI centenary commemorations I found an old photograph of my Great Aunt as a child at a peace tea on the street where I grew up. They were celebrating the rebuilding of peace in Europe. I learned that these were held across the country and I was inspired to think about how we build peace as individuals, as communities and nationally. As artists, we feel compelled to explore what peace means to people today.”

Founded 1980, Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) began as an artists’ collective born out of a desire to radically transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. Its projects delve into every form of public spectacle and include technically sophisticated light, water and firework displays, carnivals and street processions, large-scale animal puppets, mechanical contraptions and site-specific theatrical experiences. The company is at the forefront of learning and activism, taking their installations to schools, heritage sites and local communities across the country and has included appearances at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, at the Royal Shakespeare Company and for the GLA amongst others. At a time of social and political change the company aspires to make a positive difference to people’s lives, particularly those who are discriminated against and those living in economically excluded communities across London and the UK. Now a registered charity and one of the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, EEA has evolved into the reputable outdoor arts company it is today, still pioneering and still inspiring change through creativity.

@EEALondon | #PaperPeace | www.eea..uk/paperpeace

Year-long celebration of peace created by Emergency Exit Arts to launch with unveiling of large-scale mobile artwork by Robert Montgomery
Photographer Alex Bamford

About The Artist
Robert Montgomery is a Scottish-born, London-based poet, artist and sculptor regarded as a leading figure in the conceptual art world. Known for his site-specific installations created from light and text, as well as his ‘fire poems’, he stands out by bringing a poetic voice to the discourse of text art. He was the British artist selected for the 2012 Kochi Biennale and the 2016 Yinchuan Biennale. In 2012 he installed peace poems at the old Templehof Airport in Berlin. Along with the architects Allied Works he was a shortlisted finalist for the UK National Holocaust Memorial in 2017 with the scheme exhibited at the V&A Museum in London. He has a solo show upcoming at the Aspen Art Museum in January 2019.

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018