Artists’ bespoke tributes to commemorate war

One of the thought-provoking exhibits from Anne Barclay.
One of the thought-provoking exhibits from Anne Barclay.

The Bank Street Gallery in Kirriemuir is currently staging an exhibition to commemorate the outbreak of World War One.

‘Semper meminerit’, which opened on Friday, brings together the work of a number of local artists who pay their own bespoke tribute in this centenary year.

Gallery owner Susie Clark referred to the iconic images of Alfred Leete - perhaps a forgotten artist to many of us now but his work is iconic.

Everyone immediately identifies Lord Kitchener in Leete’s recruitment poster of August 1914.

The psychology of a poster had not been considered by the British military, to any great extent, before this. Lord Kitchener, however, anticipated the conflict that had been brewing in Europe.

He imagined that any conflict with Germany by the British could well be long-drawn-out. As the first serving soldier to hold the post of Secretary of State for War, perhaps he knew something.

With war declared on August 4, 1914, Leete’s poster was displayed the very next day on the cover of ‘London Opinion’, a weekly magazine in the capital. So began Leete’s work as a war time propagandist. He died in 1933.

In commemoration of the First World War, some of Bank Street Gallery’s most popular exhibitors return collaboratively to present their own bespoke tributes in this centenary year.

Anne Smith, John Johnstone, Audrey Dargie, Barbara Robertson and many others bring their eclectic styles to this special and very moving show.

Susie spoke of her humility at the response she received when she mooted the idea of such an exhibition last year.

She said: “One of the best things that has happened to me since I opened the gallery is meeting many fabulous people – both artists and visitors. “That so many renowned artists were keen to take part when I know they are so busy, it’s not easy making a living through your art and I just think it’s fabulous that they want to support the gallery in what I consider to be a very important exhibition. In years to come I am certain that some of the work of those who are exhibiting, will prove as iconic as that of Leete.”

The gallery is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday.