Artist Des Hughes unveils concentric circles tree planting for First World War Commemorative Woodland

Artist Des Hughes unveils concentric circles tree planting for First World War Commemorative Woodland

Des Hughes, the renowned sculptor who has previously exhibited at The Hepworth, Wakefield and Nottingham Contemporary and has work in the Arts Council Collection, is due to unveil his latest commission; a tree planting of concentric circles in a First World War Commemorative Woodland in Herefordshire.

The work will be unveiled at 1pm on Saturday 29th June 2019, at a special event taking place to dedicate an area of woodland at Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum in Herefordshire as a memorial to the First World War.

Hughes, known for his sculptural works drawing on an enquiry into the materials, methods and traditions of sculpture, was selected from over 30 artists nationally who applied to the open call to create work that would consider the history of Queenswood and the impact the First World War had on the people and the landscapes of Herefordshire.

Hughes whose studio is located in Herefordshire and is a regular visitor to Queenswood, has created a tree planting of concentric circle in the commemorative woodland, says of his commission,

I am very interested in the layered history of the area and in particular the fact that Queenswood was clear-felled to provide wood for the war effort by the Woman’s Timber Corps. But rather than this clearing action being seen as a negative, I think it can be understood as a series of ripples moving outwards, local small actions having a positive effect on the larger war effort and the long-term effect as the birth of Queenswood as we know it today.

Although this project has been very carefully planned there is an unpredictable potential in the work that will only be discovered in the future as this is a work that will change throughout the seasons and evolve for many decades.

This piece is low impact on the environment and is not designed to alter the shape of the landscape or to disturb the tranquillity of Queenswood in any way, but instead to offer a place for contemplation and reflection using the natural changing colour of the sky above and to almost creating a moving painting.

The commission is the first visual art commission for Queenswood. Rose Farrington, Project Officer, Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum said:

We wanted to commission an artist who could make connections between the history and context of Queenswood, physically and conceptually and help people to think differently about the site.

Sir John Foley, Chair of the former First World War Commemoration Committee in Herefordshire said:

This commemoration is a perfect and lasting record of the huge sacrifices made by the people of Herefordshire in the Great War. To highlight this important historical event for Herefordshire, a visual artwork by Des Hughes was commissioned to sit within the woodland atop Dinmore Hill. The work comprises concentric circles of differing tree species providing contrasting colours.

On Saturday 29th June 2019 at 1.00pm, the First World War Commemorative Woodland will be dedicated by The Reverend Paul Roberts CF and Rt Reverend Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford in the presence of the Dowager Countess of Darnley, CVO., JP, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Her Majesty The Queen’s personal representative in the county. The dedication will be part of wider events taking place throughout the County as part of Armed Forces Day.

The commemorative woodland and artwork have been developed with funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, several local grant funders and through a public fundraising appeal, as part of the Queenswood Heritage Gateway project.