Giant Poppy Art Project

The Giant Poppy Gift to France

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In 2015 the world's largest poppy was created from thousands of heartfelt messages on metail poppy discs in the Auckland Domain, The Giant Poppy Art Installation is now going to rest on the soil of France.

The small French town of Arras plans to replicate The Giant Poppy Art Installation in the Town Square in April 2017. This will complete the circle I always envisaged when I first created the artwork in the Auckland Domain to commemorate those who protected our freedom and democracy.

My name is Tony McNeight and during the WW1 commemorations in 2015 I created The Giant Poppy Art installation in the Auckland Domain. I laid 59,000 metal poppy discs with the help of New Zealanders and visitors who placed their poppy petal messages of love and respect.

As an artist I was influenced to create The Giant Poppy Art Installation as I had a deep connection through family who had fought and died in both World Wars.

I had a dream to create a commemorative art piece where everyone was able to engage. I personally went out and raised the funds for The Giant Poppy Art Installation in the Auckland Domain from generous donors, sponsorships, philanthropists and supporters from all over New Zealand.

The invitation for The Giant Poppy Art Installation to be placed on the soil of France is the ultimate outcome of my dream and I am seeking the support of the New Zealand community to make it happen.

THE FRENCH CONNECTION

One cool evening in late April 2015, Frederic Leturque the Mayor of Arras, a town in France, came down to the Auckland Domain and paid his respects to the men of New Zealand that had protected his town and his people.

He placed one of the red metal poppy petals with a heartfelt message that then became part of The Giant Poppy Art installation. He was there to pay his respects to the New Zealanders that had protected his town and his people a century before.

The effect of the Poppy and the way it engaged people resonated with the Mayor and he recently asked me if Arras could replicate The Giant Poppy Art Installation in their town square in April 2017. 

New Zealand has a unique and warm relationship with Arras. During World War 1 NZ soldiers were key in building massive tunnels under the town which were important for quartering animals and troops and tunneling behind enemy lines.

A memorial to the New Zealand tunnellers who lost their lives was unveiled at Arras on 8 April 2007. An underground museum, Carrière Wellington incorporates parts of the tunnel system.
http://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/arras-tunnels

IN SUMMARY

We are fundraising to get a team member and myself to France to build The Giant Poppy Art Installation with the people of Arras to share with France as a gift from New Zealand for this important commemoration.

The Giant Poppy Art Installation has to start being built on April 1 so I am on a very tight deadline due to a late invitation and the fact it is too late to approach traditional sources of funds.

Join me on the journey to realise this siginificant artwork. 

UPDATES

  • Mainfreight - special company special people

    1 WEEK AGO

    Mainfreight have a saying they are proud of – Special Company Special People.

    The team who are focusing on getting the Giant Poppy art and artist to France agree with that totally. When the phone call was made for help to transport 10,000 metal poppy petals across the world – Mainfreight said yes in a heartbeat.

    The Mainfreight ‘yes we can’ attitude has kept our spirits while we crowdfund.

    Thankyou Mainfreight.

     

    Donations are welcome. Please click on "Donate Now" for more info.

    Mainfreight - special company special people
  • Press Release: Wednesday 8th March 2017

    2 WEEKS AGO

    Hi, This Press Release was distributed earlier this morning and announces what I think is a nice idea for adding an even more poignant touch to the Poppy in France. 

    _______________________________________________

    ARTIST TO TAKE MESSAGES TO FRANCE FOR CREATION OF GIANT POPPY

    URGENT SEARCH FOR FAMILIES OF WW1 NZ SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN ARRAS FRANCE

    An urgent search is on for relatives of soldiers who were based in Arras France during World War I.

    At the beginning of next month (April) this year a Giant Poppy art installation is to be created in the town square of Arras and the artist Tony McNeight wants to take messages from the New Zealand families to join the messages of respect from the French that will be part of the art.

    The original Giant Poppy art installation was built in Auckland Domain in 2015 for World War 1 commemorations. It is being recreated in Arras for the commemorations of the Battle of Arras.

    “It is important to me that the poppy includes the families whose great uncles and great granddads are being honoured when I build the Poppy,” said Tony McNeight, “ but I don’t know who they are and I am relying on the extraordinary New Zealand grapevine to find them for me.”

    To contact Tony McNeight with details of the relatives and messages interested parties can go to the Giant poppy website and email Tony McNeight or leave a message and details.

    http://giantpoppy.co.nz

    Arras has a unique relationship with New Zealand, as during WW1 NZ soldiers were key in building massive tunnels under the town, which were important for quartering animals and troops, and tunneling behind enemy lines. The 100-year commemorations for the Battle of Arras are being held in April.

    http://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/arras-tunnels

    BACKGROUND ON POPPY AND JOURNEY TO ARRAS

    One cool evening, just before ANZAC Day in 2015, Frederic Leturque the Mayor of Arras, came down to the Auckland Domain with his colleagues and paid his respects to the men of New Zealand that had protected his town and his people 100 years before.

    Placing one of the metal poppy petals with his message he was impressed the way the Poppy allowed everyone to engage so he asked for the Poppy art installation to be replicated in France.

    BACKGROUND THE GIANT POPPY ART

    During the WW1 100 year commemorations in New Zealand in 2015 the artist Tony McNeight built the Giant Poppy Art installation in the Auckland Domain.
    His idea was to give everyone an opportunity to place their own personal messages.
    To make it happen he privately raised the funds to finance the project which was a huge success with 25,000 New Zealanders and visitors placing messages

    BOOSTED CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGN.

    The artist has launched a crowdfunding campaign on the Arts Foundation site Boosted for him to build the Poppy in France with a very tight deadline.

    For further information please email:

    Angela Griffen

    or

    Tony McNeight

     

    Image shown here is Members of the New Zealand Tunnelling Company in France during WWI. Source: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/294664/memorial-to-honour-nz's-wwi-tunnellers

    Press Release: Wednesday 8th March 2017
  • Looking back...

    3 WEEKS AGO

    This short documentary was produced by my friends at Fish & Clips and it conveys the essence of the Giant Poppy beautifully. The Poppy's first 'incarnation' on the Auckland Domain and now (hopefully) to be followed by it's "re-incarnation" on the soil of France.

    Thank you for the generous donations to date. 

    [https://www.youtube.com/embed/OnaqmycX0w4?rel=0]

    Looking back...