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Places of Peace : Selected Essays

Representing Peace?
‘Can Peace be Set in Stone?’
Paul Gough
    ‘I thought we had quite enough memorials that seemed to revive the war spirit rather than to consider peace,
    which is, after all, the aim and end of every great struggle.‘
So reflected the sculptor Adrian Jones in his autobiography Memoirs of a Soldier Artist, as he prepared to cast the symbolic figure of ‘Peace’ for the Uxbridge war memorial in 1924. For those British and Empire artists working in the classical style, ‘Peace’ took the conventional form of a female figure holding aloft an olive branch, palm frond, or occasionally, a dove. ‘Peace’ however, rarely appeared as a solo act. Invariably she was a junior partner to the more strident figure of ‘Victory’, and located at a lower point on the pedestal arrangement.

A version of this was published in the
Times Higher Education Supplement 4th April 2003, pp. 18-19

For a full version of this essay, click here

'Invicta pax' Monuments, Memorials and peace:
An Analysis of the Canadian Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa.
Paul Gough
This paper explores monuments to peace and peacekeeping, as distinct from monuments and memorials that commemorate the war dead. Two principal lines of enquiry are explored: the first examines whether it is possible to create secular monumental sculpture that promotes peace or espouses reconciliation. Secondly, the author asks whether monumental art is able to advocate peace without relying on the frameworks or discourses of commemoration and remembrance. Through an initial examination of the differences between 'monuments' and 'memorials' the paper explores the iconography and discourses of peace and pacifism. The paper then focuses on the Peacekeeping Monument in central Ottawa, Canada: a monument that was intended to mark forty years of international peacekeeping, but was unveiled the same year that Canadian troops fought as part of a military coalition in the Middle East and were embroiled in a civil war in Africa. By comparing the the Peacekeeping Monument with the nearby Canadian War Memorial the author explores the manipulation and creation of heroic landscapes, concluding that far from advocating peace and reconciliation, the Peacekeeping Monument captures a defined period in Canadian polity.

A full version of this paper is in:
Gough, P.J. (2002) 'Invicta pax' Monuments, Memorials and peace:An Analysis of the Canadian Peacekeeping Monument, Ottawa.' International Journal of Heritage Studies', 8, 3. pp.201-223, 8 b & w illus., ISSN 1352-7258.
See also the illustrations on:

For a full version of this essay, click here

From Heroes' Groves to Parks of Peace:
landscapes of remembrance, protest and peace.
Paul Gough
The public space surrounding war memorials and military monuments has always been important in the iconography of remembrance. In the nineteenth century these spaces often took the form of garden cemeteries and memorial plantations; after the First World War large tracts of former battlefield were preserved as sacred spaces which were essential to the process of ritual pilgrimage.

After 1945 there was a considerable shift in the landscapes of war: memorial schemes more often took a pragmatic and utilitarian form, and desolated cities such as Hiroshima (and to a lesser extent Dresden and Coventry) became the cornerstone for anti-war movements in the late 1950s and 1960s. This period saw the emergence of a symbolic landscape of protest, which often co-existed uncomfortably as a place of tourism. Through a study of such sites the paper analyses the various types of 'peace landscape' from environmental schemes such as trans-border parks to political interventions in the form of peace gardens. In the final section a recent design competition for a peace park in Turkey is examined and compared with similar complex environments in the US and Northern Ireland.

This is an extended version of the paper first published as:
Gough, P.J. (2003) 'From Heroes' Groves to Parks of Peace: landscapes of remembrance, protest and peace.'
Landscape Research , 25, 2, pp 213 - 229, 8 b & w illus., ISSN 0142 – 6397.

For a full version of this essay, click here

'That Sacred Turf'
War Memorial Gardens as Theatres of War (and Peace)
Paul Gough
This paper examines the idea of garden spaces and planting regimes as a form of natural 'anti-monument'. Drawing upon examples from Gallipoli in Turkey and Caen in Northern France the paper shows how design teams are beginning to rely less on stone and cast bronze in preference to symbolic planting schemes that require the pilgrim-visitor to enter into a discursive, theatrical space. In these spaces the dramaturgical is prioritised over the purely visual in challenging and novel ways. The paper also reflects on the political and symbolic potency of the floral tribute suggesting that the direction and protocol of official mourning in the aftermath of the death of the Princess of Wales in 1997 was influenced by these private and transient memorials.

There had been problems with the planting. The grass at the cemetery was French grass, and it seemed to her of the coarser type, inappropriate for British soldiers to lie beneath. Her campaign over this with the commission led nowhere. So one spring she took out a small spade and a square yard of English turf kept damp in a plastic bag.

After dark she dug out the offending French grass and relaid the softer English turf, patting it into place, then stamping it in. She was pleased with her work, and the next year, as she approached the grave, saw no indication of her mending. But when she knelt, she realised that her work had been undone: the French grass was back again.
(Barnes, 1996)

A version of this paper was given at
'Monuments and the Millennium' conference at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK in May 1998, and later published as
Gough, P.J. 'Landscapes of War (and Peace)' in 'Monuments and the Millennium', James and James / English Heritage, 2001, 228 - 236, 4 x b and w illus. ISBN 1-873936 - 97 – 4.

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