Somme motorway break for battlefield photo exhibition

Posted on on 02 May 2016
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A motorway service area on the Somme is the latest destination for Michael St Maur Sheil's touring photo exhibition, Fields of Battle - Lands of Peace 14-18.

The photographer's evocative present-day scenes of Great War battlefields are displayed at the Assevillers service area on the A1, one of France's busiest autoroutes, linking Paris and Lille.

The setting is a marked contrast with previous city centre venues that have included the Champs-Elysées in the French capital, St James's Park, London, and the Institut Français in Berlin.

But Mike Sheil explains: "The intention behind the creation of the Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace outdoor exhibitions is simply to enable as many people as possible to be introduced to the subject of the First World War without the limitations imposed by display inside a museum or art gallery.

"Thus the opportunity to create an exhibition in a motorway service area is an exciting new opportunity to engage with a whole new international audience."

Assevillers service area is a popular stop for motorists from the Netherlands, so the exhibition is also presented in Dutch, as well as French and English.

"For me this is a really creative and imaginative initiative on the part of Sanef - a major transport infra-structure company - and the French Centenary Commission, " Mike Sheil says.

The village of Assevillers itself is near Péronne. 

More than 800 Commonwealth soldiers of the First World War are commemorated at CWGC's Assevillers New British Cemetery.

Among them is the Australian Olympic swimming gold medallist, Cecil Healy, who was killed in action during the Allied offensive on the Somme in August 1918.

'Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace 14-18' is at Assevillers (Ouest) service area on the A1 autoroute until August 28th 2016.

Mike Sheil's photos will also be returning to London, for a Battle of the Somme Centenary exhibition. The event, in Guildhall Yard from June 1st-July 3rd, will be accompanied by a series of lectures. See the City of London website for details.

Exhibition information & images supplied by Michael St Maur Sheil

Additional information: CWGC & Wikipedia

Posted by: CN Editorial Team