Bob and Roberta Smith has combed the rich archive of IWM and looked to the experiences of his own grandfather to create the first in a series of new works, which will be available as a range of products from IWM retail outlets.
The artist has applied his colourful and recognisable graphic style to the series, How Do We Understand 1914-1918?
Items include a military-style button embossed with the words ‘How Do We Understand 1914-1918?’, which Bob and Roberta Smith hopes people will sew onto coats and jackets as a reminder of the consequences of the First World War.
A limited-edition print, sketch book and silk scarf of ‘lost artists’ who died in the conflict have also been designed by the artist.
Bob and Roberta Smith says, ‘Both my grandfathers fought in the First World War and survived. I am here because they lived when so many others died. I have been obsessed by this serendipitous fact since being a child.’
These thoughts raise a number of questions for the artist such as, ‘What might have been if so many people of a generation had lived?’
He adds, ‘It has been deeply moving working on this project. When there is no one left to remember the experience of the First World War perhaps the question becomes, “How do we understand the First World War? How do we understand 1914-1918?”’
Items will be available to purchase from IWM London, IWM North from 19 July and as pre-orders from the online store www.iwmshop.org.uk