Ship painted in dazzle camouflage to mark the First World War Centenary

Posted on on 13 June 2014
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The ship Edmund Gardner, moored in Liverpool, has been painted in dazzle camouflage to mark the Centenary of the First World War.

The Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez was commissioned to design the camouflage for the ship, with a team of painters from the ship repair and conservation company Cammell Laird, carrying out the painting.

Dazzle camouflage owes its origins to the First World War. The British artist Norman Wilkinson is credited with coming up with the idea in 1917 when serving as a Royal Navy volunteer.

The geometric shapes with contrasting colours were designed to confuse the enemy by making it difficult to gauge how far away the ship was and at what speed it was travelling.

HMT (Hired Military Transport) Olympic dazzle painted, courtesy of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM, Q 68435

At a time when Germany's u-boats were sinking tonnes of British shipping, any advantage that could be gained over the enemy was deemed crucial.

However, it remains contested how effective the camouflage actually was.

"Extraordinary story"

The project is part of an official programme of cultural events marking the Centenary, called 14-18 NOW, which will also see HMS President in London turned into a dazzle ship.

Speaking about the successful painting of the Edmund Gardner in Liverpool, Jenny Waldman, the Director of 14-18 NOW, said that the orgainsation wanted to open the programme with "a major public art commission for everyone to see, that reflects on one of the most extraordinary stories of the First World War".

The newly painted ship was presented on the 12th June 2014, and will remain open until the end of 2015.

To watch a time-lapse video of the ship being painted, click here.

Source: 14-18 NOW press release

Images courtesy of Liverpool Biennial

Date of press release publication: 12/06/2014

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News

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