Sculptures reflecting impact of war on display at Scottish Parliament

7th October 2014 Fraser Bedwell
France 1914, by Edinburgh based artist Simon Burns-Cox, is a stunning 6-feet-tall Italian marble sculpture.  The sculpture represents the last tree remaining on a First World War battlefield, representing a symbol of hope and survival. The installation will be on display at the Scottish Parliament until 4 December 2014.  It will then go on a tour of the country for the next four years before being auctioned or sold to raise funds for Poppyscotland.
Unknown, by Midlothian based artist Alison Kinnaird MBE, features 52 glass figures, mainly soldiers, lit with LED lighting to illuminate the engraving. According to the artist, the inclusion of civilian figures highlights the impact of war on all of us.  Each figure is an individual but they represent a universal soldier – each one is someone’s son, brother, father or friend.  The piece remembers and honours those who have fallen in the past and who continue to fight. It will be on display in the Main Hall until 1 November 2014.  It will then go on tour to museums and visitor centres across Scotland.
Poppyscotland is the only charity supported by the Scottish Parliament and Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick unveiled the sculptures in the Main Hall, accompanied by veteran Donald McLeod, who served in the Scots Guards and now works at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory. They were joined by serving soldier Private Lynsey McNeill from the 52nd Lowland, 6th Battaltion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (6 SCOTS).
The Presiding Officer, Rt Hon Tricia Marwick MSP said:  “Poppyscotland is the only charity that the Scottish Parliament supports. In this centenary year of the ‘war to end all wars’, we remember the millions who died between 1914-18.  These artworks remind us of the peace yet to be achieved.  I am sure that MSPs and visitors to Holyrood alike will pause and reflect on the devastating impact of wars past and present.”
Ian McGregor, Chief Executive of Poppyscotland, said: “The First World War inspired and continues to inspire great works of art and, as we approach Remembrance time, these striking installations give us a timely opportunity to remember the Fallen. Importantly, they also remind us of the impact of war on members of the Armed Forces community today and the need to continue to support them through the Scottish Poppy Appeal.”
Private Lynsey McNeill, who is featuring in Poppyscotland’s 2014 campaign, said: “I am delighted to be one of the first people to see the sculptures on display. It is important to remember  and, as a serving soldier, it is reassuring to know that organisations like Poppyscotland are there for those who have served. I hope the public will visit to see these stunning pieces of art.”
Simon Burns-Cox said “Over the years, I have donated pieces of my work to charity. I wanted to help Poppyscotland mark the centenary of the First World War by donating France 1914 in order to raise funds for veterans. I hope that people who see the piece will remember those who have given their lives for this country and that they will leave a donation to Poppyscotland.”