Right on our doorstep – St Giles’ Cripplegate Church has been transformed into a powerful and moving space of remembrance.
Renowned photographer Gabrielle Crawford is known for her celebrity photography like the iconic image of Margaret Thatcher and portraits of John Lennon, yet when Orne Department of Contemporary Art in France were looking for a photographer to represent the monuments of Northern France they picked Gabrielle, a woman to capture war.
Gabrielle saw this as one of her most exciting missions to date.
The exhibition has been a huge success in France and is now open from today until the end of November, in the ideal setting of St Giles’ Cripplegate which is one of the few remaining medieval churches in the City of London after surviving devastating bombing during the Blitz of 1940 and1941.
It took Gabrielle three years to photograph the monuments you will see at the exhibition.
At the Going Down of the Sun – Gabrielle Crawford
An Exhibition of Photographs for the Fallen. St. Giles’ Cripplegate Church, Barbican, EC2
8 November – 28 November 2019
Gabrielle Crawford says:
“Many of these photographs have spent the summer in an open air exhibition at the Musee de Montormel in Normandy. For this reason they may be a little damaged by tree and corn cutting and flying beasts, not to mention the gusts of winds from the helicopter blades flying in leaders from the many nations paying homage to the thousands who lost their lives in the last bloody land battle in France.
“I hoped the photographs would travel to other countries, not for me as a photographer, I am just the messenger, but to show the extraordinary love and respect in Northern France for those millions of lives from all over the world given for our freedom.
“Entire families had been lost: husbands, brothers, sons, and with no bodies returned home, they desperately needed a place to remember, a place to grieve. Villagers sold anything of value they had left to fund these humble, simple and emotional statues. Architects and sculptors were commissioned, some known but many, unknown local men working from a simple drawing with whatever material the village could afford.
“Often after hours travelling in the most dreadful weather, stumbling freezing cold and wet across northern France, I reminded myself that I was going home to a warm house and safety. You cannot begin to imagine those hundreds of miles of huge open spaces with no hiding place.
“To bring the photographs to this very special and fitting location at the kind invitation of the Rector Katharine Rumens in St. Giles’ Cripplegate for 11.11 2019 is hopefully a different way to remember and honour them.
“On a final point, the names of the thousands of gravestones and memorials I passed were from every continent and every country in Europe.
“Lest we forget.” Gabrielle Crawford.