Shades of History (Wilfred Owen)


In an era accused of a lack of imagination for the future, history and the lessons of the past is a vital resource. The contemporary practise of transforming black and white images from World War One into full digital colour (Peter Jackson’s ‘For They Will Not Grow Old’ 20180 appears an attempt to better connect out worlds, to build compassion.

Dolce et Decorum Est (trans: It is sweet and honorable … to die for ones country) written by Wilfred Owen in 1917, is one of the best known English anti war poems. Do historic narratives get tired out and worn away? What is the cost of reworking them?

As part of the ‘Commemoration, Conflict and Conscience’ academic national festival 2019 these works were exhibited at Bristol City Library as ‘A Colour Chart for Killing – the legacy of World War One ‘the war to end all wars’.