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Great War commemorative sculptures at St Paul's Cathedral by Gerry Judah

Date uploaded: April 14, 2014

Two sculptures by Gerry Judah commemorating World War One have been installed in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The twin crosses by the artist, each 20 feet tall, dramatically flank the nave of the church.

Judah has linked the 100-year-old war to modern-day conflict by carefully embellishing each cross with tiny models of today’s war-torn cities and towns, recalling the ongoing struggle in places such as Afghanistan and Syria.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Judah explained that he hoped the memorial would “pose questions about what has continued to go wrong after that war.”

The conflict, which began with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke, was initially called the Great War. Those who believed that the world would not see a conflict of that magnitude ever again had their hopes dashed during the Second World War. Judah’s latest work reminds viewers that even a century later, the world has not achieved lasting peace.

This is not the first time the 62-year-old sculptor has been called upon to create work of this nature. In 2000, Judah made a sculpture of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious Nazi concentration camp, commissioned by the Imperial War Museum in London.

The cathedral has run a visual arts programme for the past decade, with contributors including Antony Gormley and Yoko Ono.

Judah said: “It is a great honour to have been selected to create these two new works as part of the World War I commemorations at St Paul’s Cathedral, a building that has historically come to symbolise the triumph of hope and redemption in the face of conflict."

“These sculptures are intended to appeal to our feelings of pity and charity, as well as filling us with hope for the future, which, I feel, is one of the principal purposes of a great place of worship, contemplation and meditation such as St Paul’s.”

The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, The Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, added: “Gerry Judah’s striking sculptures confront us with the reality of a War that saw thousands and thousands of young people from around the world buried with white crosses and stones over their remains. They also provoke us into interrogating the present world and the landscapes we casually view on the news every day, as scarred and agonised by military hate as the hearts and minds of those who survive.”

The sculptures are due to be unveiled to the public on Palm Sunday, next week. They will then remain in the Cathedral for eight months, covering the centenary of the outbreak, in the summer.

Photography: David Barbour

Photography: David Barbour