Culture Minister John Griffiths and the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, unveiling the successful design

First Minister of Wales unveils design for First World War memorial in Belgium

Posted on centenarynews.com on 12 February 2014
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First Minister Carwyn Jones has unveiled the design of a new memorial to commemorate Welsh soldiers who fought during the First World War.

                                            The design for the Langemark memorial

The memorial - to be erected in the village of Langemark in Belgium - is the reult of a three year campaign by a Welsh committee led by Peter Jones and a Flemish committee headed by Erwin Ureeel, with the support of the Welsh Government.

The campaign has raised more than £100,000 so far.

Peter Jones of the Welsh Memorial in Flanders Campaign thanked those who had been involved and donated towards the campaign.

Four designs were received by Culture Cymru, with 31 year old Tenby resident Lee Odishow's being selected.

Lyndon Mably, Chair of Sculpture Cymru, said that it was " a challenging and enjoyable task" to produce a short list of sculptors, but that Mr. Odishow's dragon "really captured the essence of the brief and the spirit of the Welsh people rings out from its fierce countenance and posture".

                                            Sculptor Lee Odishow with his winning design

Mr. Odishow is a former student of Coleg Sir Gâr in Carmarthen, where he is now a student mentor.  His recent commissions include a sculpture portrait of  Lt.Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, MBE - a Welsh Guards Commission to raise money for the Afghanistan Appeal and the Combat Stress charity.

He was a finalist in the Broomhill National Sculpture Prize 2011 and has featured regularly in group exhibitions with Sculpture Cymru. In 2013 he was a selected exhibitor at the British Art Medal Society Medal Project XX (20) in London.

"Instantly recognisable"

Mr. Odishow said: "The Welsh dragon is the symbol of Wales and it is hoped that my proposed sculpture for the memorial at Flanders reflects this. I have deliberately chosen to keep near to the original found on the flag so that should be instantly recognisable to all who visit the site".

First Minister Carwyn Jones, who visited the proposed site for the memorial last September, said:  “I’m pleased to unveil the winning design by Lee Odishow for this memorial, which will be a lasting tribute to Welsh people who lost their lives in the First World War.  As this will be the first national memorial outside Wales, it is fitting that the memorial will feature Welsh stones and be topped by a proud, red dragon.”

David Alston Arts Director of the Arts Council of Wales, who co-ordinated the search for an artist along with Sculpture Cymru, praised Mr. Odishow for responding "magnificently" to the brief.

"His proposal is fearsome and handsome in equal measure and the detailing will be superb. In some ways whilst really contemporary, he nonetheless proposes to match the great modellers of the past that you can see in the statuary of the early 20th century around Cathays Park in Cardiff and the war memorial there.”

Source: Government of Wales press release

Date of press release publication: 11/02/2014

Images courtesy of the Welsh Government

Posted by: Daniel Barry, Centenary News