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Wire sculpture at Glenwood Cemetery a tribute to veterans

Artist Danielle Reddick, and Glenwood Cemetery Chair, Sandy Latchford, flank the new wire soldier sculpture.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
A wire sculpture of a Second World War solider unveiled at Glenwood pays tribute to more than 300 veterans buried at the Picton cemetery.

About a dozen people attended the low-key unveiling, where physical distancing and face coverings were part of the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.

The sculpture was commissioned by Glenwood Cemetery and is located within the Columbarium area of the cemetery.

Sandy Latchford, Glenwood Cemetery Board chair.

“About a year ago, Mary Sinclair, who is on our marketing team said, ‘You’ve got to look at this picture’ and I looked at it and said, I want that at Glenwood because that is stunningly gorgeous,” said Sandy Latchford, Glenwood Cemetery Chair. “I want this here, we need this here.”

The picture was of a wire sculpture honouring the veterans of the First World War.

“I said there is no reason why we can’t do that to honour the veterans of World War II here in the County.”

After looking for an artist willing to give the project a shot, they talked to County multi-media artist Danielle Reddick, who was willing to take on the project.

Then they needed the funds to help make it happen. The vision was realized with grants received from the Prince Edward County Arts Council and The Huff Family Fund, managed by The County Foundation.

“They saw our vision and what we wanted to do,” said Latchford.

Having worked through the winter, Reddick completed the sculpture where it was to be unveiled on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, to mark the end of the Second World War.

“That whole celebration had to be cancelled because of COVID-19, and we had to re-group and decide when would we bring him out and present him to the public.”

It is hoped the wire sculpture will be the first in a series of art sculptures and artists’ renditions in a tribute to the veterans.

“When we initiated the project, it was with the hopes of doing 10-15 of them throughout the cemetery, and possibly even putting some in town,” said Reddick, who expects to work on future sculptures for Glenwood.

“Now this one has been conquered, it makes it much more accessible for me,” she said. “I was really nervous because you want to produce the best that you can, especially with such a prominent location.”

“We would like more wire sculptures,” said Latchford. “We are hoping this leads to more and more, so throughout the cemetery you can walk and look at art work and sculptures representing other veterans.

“We have a veteran here from the War of 1812, so we have veterans from all different eras, but we also have other interesting stories, so we are open to other expressions of how we can memorialize the people that are here.”

Reddick, an award-winning multimedia artist, has lived in Prince Edward County since 1984. It took her about a year to complete the sculpture.

“Danielle did an excellent job of finding the type of uniform correct to World War II, as well as height and size because the veterans of that day and the people of that time were shorter and smaller framed,” Latchford explained.

“I am absolutely privileged to be part of this project; the significance goes beyond the need to remember everyone who fought and the struggles and the success,” said Reddick.

As far as making the sculpture, it was an evolved process, she said.

“The Hasty Ps were wonderful, the War Museum in Trenton was great showing me the helmet and allowing me to reproduce things, take measurements and photographs.”

“He was my companion for a year, he lived with me; we had dinners,” laughs Reddick. “The amazing thing about him is during the creation, he began to take on a spirit of his own and he became his own being, there’s no doubt there is a sprit within this sculpture, no doubt in my mind.”

The detail from the epaulets on his jacket, to the way he is standing is significant.

“It is right over left, and then the gun was to be just inside the right foot, so it’s very specific,” said Reddick.

Latchford added that the uniform was difficult because the Second World War uniform is very similar to the First World War uniform.

“We searched for characteristics of the World War II to highlight it, so if you are a veteran, you will look at it and see World War II, not World War I,” said Latchford.

“This will become more and more part of the environment as time goes on,” explained Reddick, who said leaves may collect or moss may grow eventually.

The sculpture, however, will retain its silver-grey colour and will not rust as it is made of galvanized steel.

A plaque is to be installed with the sculpture at a later date.

The Glenwood Cemetery’s park-like setting of 62 acres in the heart of Picton is the resting place for approximately 15,000 people, including more than 300 veterans. For more information, visit glenwoodcemetery.ca.

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