Marian Fountain’s Sculpture Honours NZ Tunnellers

Hundreds of New Zealand soldiers who dug a network of tunnels beneath Arras in the run-up to the Allies’ spring 1917 offensive in Northern France are to be honoured with the unveiling of a new bronze memorial on 9 April.

The Earth Remembers, a sculpture outlining the figure of a New Zealander wearing a characteristic “lemon squeezer” hat, is due to be inaugurated during the Battle of Arras Centenary commemorations on 9 April 2017.

Designed and made by New Zealander Marian Fountain, an artist based in Paris, it will stand near the entrance to the Carrière Wellington, the subterranean museum in Arras dedicated to British and Commonwealth forces who were garrisoned underground during the First World War.

In the run-up to the Battle of Arras in 1917, British and New Zealand forces dug an extensive network of tunnels beneath the town, linking quarries dating back to the Middle Ages to create vast shelters below ground.

The aim was concentrate thousands of troops close to the front line in readiness for the April offensive, without alerting the Germans.

Part of the system was named Wellington Quarry, after the New Zealand capital. After years of excavations, it was re-opened as a museum, La Carrière Wellington, in 2008.

Fountain’s work has been exhibited at the British Museum, The National Gallery of Scotland, the Museo Archeologico of Milan, York Museum, Auckland Museum and the French Mint.

According to her website, she designed and made the medals for the Commonwealth Games in 1990, America’s Cup in 2003, for the “Entente Cordiale” in 2004, and among others presentation sculptures and medals for the bar-code company of France, GS1.

Original article by Centenary News, January 9, 2017.

Photo by Marian Fountain.

Tags: Battle of Arras  Centenary News  La Carrière Wellington  Marian Fountain  The New Zealand Tunnelling Company  WWI  

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